Have You Got A Loose Tooth? You Need to Read This

Do you have a loose tooth? If so, it is important that you know what you need to do to prevent it from falling out, not to mention how to re-anchor it solidly in your gums.

For children, discovering a loose tooth is often an exhilerating experience – but for adults, it’s always a sign that something is wrong. Loose teeth can really be caused by a great number of different oral health problems or injury to the face, but in most cases the reason is advanced gum disase.

It is important to treat not only the symptom but also the underlying cause if you want to prevent loose teeth and tooth looss not only now but in the future as well.

In this article, we are going to cover common causes of loose permanent teeth in adults, as well as how to recognize a loose tooth and what can be done about it if you discover a loose tooth.

What can cause a loose adult tooth

There are many different potential cause sof loose teeth in adults, and most of them result, in one way or another, from improper dental hygiene. The most common causes of loose teeth include periodontal disease (also known as advanced gum disase), bruxism (also known as teeth grinding), teeth injury or pregnancy. 

Gum disease

By the time gum disease is causing loose adult teeth, it has already progressed to the stage of advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious orala health issue, as the inflammation that characterizes it can affect not only the gums, but also the teeth, soft tissues in the mouth, and even the jaw and other facial bones.

If left untreated, advanced gum disease can spread infection to the blood stream and affect the vital organs, so it is extremely important to get it treated as soon as possible.

Gum disease is almost always casused by poor dental hygiene. However, because of the different hormones that are released during pregnancy, pregnant women are at increased risk of developign gum disease. In other words, if you happen to be pregnant, make sure that you are extra vigilant about your dental health and hygine.

Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding habits are a common cause of loose adult teeth. 

If you tend to grind your teeth in your waking state, you are at least able to consciously work on your habits, but if your teeth grinding happens at night, it is much more difficult to control it. 

Facial injury

Facial injury is another thing that can cause a loose adult tooth. 

Oral cancer

In some cases, your permanent teeth may loosen due to oral cancer, which affects and weakens the gum tissue.

What to do if you discover a loose tooth

Any tooth that becomes loose is in danger of having to be extracted. But if a loose tooth is discovered early on, there is a reasonable chance that it can be helped to tighten itself back up again. 

Time is of the essence, however, so if you discover a loose tooth in your mouth, the first thing you should do is contact your dentist.

Until your dentist is able to see you, make sure to avoid putting any pressure on the loose tooth.

What a loose tooth feels like

Loose teeth lack structual support and are usually easy to notice.

The typical time to discover a loose tooth is while you are brushing or flossing your teeth, or while chewing or biting down on something. 

The tooth may feel a bit strange, and if you push against it with a finger or even just with your tongue, it’ll rock ever so slighlty back and forth. You might also have bleeding gums.

Fixing loose teeth

Fortunatley, it is often possible to save a loose tooth before it becomes necessary to remove it altogether. However, this is completely predicated on the loose tooth being spotted and treated in time.

Dentists have a range of different procedures and treatmetns avaiable to treat a loose adult tooth. Here are the most common treatment options.

Scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planing refers to a professional deep cleaning of the teeth and gums. The purpose of this treatment is to remove all plaque and bacteria which may be causing irritated, swollen gums and gum disease.

Because gum disease and inflammation are almost always caused by a lack of dental hygiene, scaling and root planing followed by a renewed dedication to practicing good oral hygiene can sometimes be enough to turn the situation around and prevent loose adult teeth from reoccurring. 

You can learn more about scaling and root planing here.


Splinting is a dental procedure where a loose tooth is attached to neighboring teeth with a splint. This gives the loose tooth added support until it has become firmly reanchored in your gums. 

Gum tissue grafting or bone grafting

Gum grafting and bone grafting are necessary in cases where the bacterial infection from gum disease is so severe that it has has caused receding gums and bone loss.

If your gums have receded, they cannot grow back on their own. And if your gums do not cover the roots of all of your teeth properly, your teeth may become loose as a result as they don’t have enough tissue to anchor them. 

The only solution in these cases is gum tissue flap surgery, where an oral surgeon takes healthy gum tissue from one area of the mouth and grafts it onto where it is most needed. 

Bone grafting is similar, but more intensive as it involves taking bone from one area of the jaw and moving it to another.

Wear a mouth guard at night

If night bruxism (teeth grinding) is the underlying cause of your loose teeth, the best solution is to stop yourself from grinding your teeth at night.

The most effective way to stop yoursel from grinding your teeth in your sleep is to wear a night guard all through the night. 

Loosew teeth is just one of the many risks associated with nighttime teeth grinding. To learn more about the dental issues that teeth grinding can lead to, we wrote an article addressing the issues.

Frequently asked questions about loose teeth in adults

Can a loose tooth tighten itself back up?

Yes, in some cases a loose tooth is able to tighten itself back up naturally, but whether it is depends on the underlying cause of your tooth being loose.

If your teeth have become loose due to poor dental hygiene and gum disease, thorouly cleaning your teeth and staying on top of your oral hygiene may be enouth to firm your gums back up and prevent tooth loss.

Want to learn more about how to tighten a loose tooth back up at home? You can read our article on the topic right here.

What do you do about a loose tooth?

What can be done about a loose tooth depends on why the tooth is loose. 

There are a number of different treatment options available if you have loose teeth. These can range from deep cleaning of your teeth and gums and making changes to your oral hygiene routine to getting the tooth extracted and replaced by an implant.

Only a dental professional will be able to assess your tooth and determine what the best treatment option is in your particular case.

Is it OK to wiggle a loose tooth?

You should definitely not wiggle a loose tooth.

On the contrary, you should try to put as little pressure on it as possible until it can be treated by a dentist. If you wiggle or rock a loose tooth back and forth, you are raising the odds of loosing it.


A loose adult tooth is not only disconcerting in and of itself, it is usually also a sign of an underlying dental health problem. 

If you discover a loose tooth in your mouth, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible if you want to give yourself the best chance of saving the tooth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *