When you’re younger, loose teeth mean a future visit from the tooth fairy. When you’re an adult, it means future oral health problems.
Should teeth have any mobility?
Teeth should have some minor mobility – otherwise oral appliances like braces or Invisalign wouldn’t be able to do their job. These devices slowly shift the teeth into their proper place, so some mobility from your teeth is required. However, when your teeth have so much mobility that they feel loose as they did when you were a child about to shed your baby teeth, this is a huge issue. Teeth mobility during adulthood is usually a sign of underlying health problems and should be treated right away before tooth loss occurs.
What causes tooth mobility?
Tooth mobility comes in many forms and each can lead to severe consequences for your overall health.
- Periodontal disease:
This is a disease that starts in the gums but will eventually migrate to the teeth. When you have periodontal disease, bacterial plaque forms around the gum line and on the teeth before it hardens into tartar. This tartar allows for more plaque to form on top of it leading to inflamed gum tissue. When our gums are inflamed, they will become sensitive and possibly recede. The bones and connective tissue that keep our teeth in place become damaged – which, in some cases, can cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is one of the most common causes of loose teeth in adults.
- Hormones caused by pregnancy:
During pregnancy, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are so high in your body that it can cause the ligaments and bones around the teeth to loosen. When the bones and ligaments that surround the teeth become loose, our teeth follow suit. Generally, this corrects itself after you give birth and your hormones level off. But, it’s always best to consult your dentist if you notice that your teeth are extremely mobile during your pregnancy.
This disease affects the bones by making them less dense. When our bones lose their density, they are more prone to fractures and can lead to loose teeth. Moreover, women with osteoporosis are more likely to experience tooth loss than their male counterparts. Also, certain osteoporosis medications can interfere with regular dental treatments causing a condition called osteonecrosis that can make the teeth move.
A traumatic blow to the jaw or head can turn your teeth loose. When we are hit with extreme force, our teeth can shift from their sockets making them mobile. Many athletes who play contact sports like hockey or football experience teeth mobility due to the head injuries they receive during play. Even though they wear helmets and mouthguards, they are still susceptible to tooth movement.
- Teeth grinding:
If you grind your teeth nightly or clench your jaws, you can experience loose teeth. The ligaments that hold your teeth in their sockets can stretch, leaving your teeth loose. You can wear a mouthguard at night to help with the grinding.
Do loose teeth lead to eventual tooth loss?
Unfortunately, loose teeth will lead to tooth loss if you do not take care of your oral health. At the first sign of tooth mobility you should visit your dentist because losing a tooth as an adult is very different from when you lose one as a kid.
What happens when you lose a tooth as an adult?
When you’re younger and lose a baby tooth, a new adult tooth grows in. Unfortunately, when you lose a tooth during adulthood, your body does not automatically scramble to replace it with a fresh new tooth. Instead, you will need dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial replacements for missing teeth. They can replace the root or part of the tooth, or the whole tooth. Implants are made of small metal posts that fuse with bone in a process called osseointegration. This process is completely safe and the metal used is biocompatible which means it causes no harm to the body. After osseointegration has taken place, a replacement tooth is fitted to your mouth. Dental implants look like real teeth and last a lifetime if you take care of them with regular brushing.
What happens if you don’t replace missing teeth?
If you don’t replace missing teeth you will not be able to chew or speak properly. You will also experience the loss of bone and lip support. Plus, the adjacent teeth will drift into the empty spaces leaving you with tooth decay.
Tooth mobility is never a good sign. With regular brushing and flossing, you can keep your teeth in good shape. However, if you notice that your tooth or several teeth feel loose, please contact Dawson Dental. If left untreated, a loose tooth (or teeth) can lead to severe oral health issues.