Typically, the first tooth erupts around 6 months of age and, by the time a child reaches the age of 3, they should have all of their primary teeth. However, when they reach the age of 6, their primary teeth will begin falling out. Loose teeth in children is a perfectly natural occurrence and nothing to worry about- unless it is due to trauma.
However, once the permanent teeth come in, they should last a lifetime. If a permanent tooth is loose, there is cause for concern. In some cases, a loose tooth is accompanied by other symptoms, including bleeding, swollen, red, and receding gums.
These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition, so if you experience these, be sure to ask your dentist. The team at Arlington Dental Excellence has the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat tooth loss.
In this article, we’ll explain more about tooth loss, including the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Common Causes of Loose Teeth
There are several potential causes for loose teeth in adults, including:
- Gum disease - Approximately 40% of adults have gum disease and this condition accounts for approximately 70% of tooth loss. Regular dental visits can detect gum disease early so that it can be treated to prevent future issues.
- Pregnancy - Pregnancy hormones can impact your oral health and cause tooth pain and other dental issues. If you are pregnant and experiencing these issues, they should resolve after pregnancy but should be addressed because conditions such as gum disease can cause premature birth.
- Injury/trauma - If you experience trauma to the jaw or face, it could cause a tooth to become damaged or loose. When this happens, it’s important to seek emergency treatment to prevent further issues.
- Osteoporosis - Osteoporosis typically impacts the hips, wrists, and spine- but this condition can also impact your jawbone. Plus, certain medications used to treat the symptoms of osteoporosis can impact your oral health.
- Bruxism (tooth grinding) - Over time, bruxism- also known as tooth grinding- can cause the bone and soft tissue around your teeth to degrade, which causes teeth to become loose. If you grind your teeth while awake, becoming aware of the problem can help you stop. However, if you are grinding your teeth at night while sleeping, you may need a nightguard to protect your teeth.
Treating Tooth Loss in Adults
Treatment depends on what is causing your teeth to loosen.
If you have gum disease, you’ll need to undergo scaling and root planing, which is a special cleaning procedure that removes hardened plaque under the teeth and gums. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to kill any infection that may be present. You may also require surgery if your gum disease is severe.
If your bone is deteriorating due to osteoporosis or other issues, you may need bone grafting. This is an oral surgery that takes either biological bone material or artificial biocompatible material to build up the jawbone so that it can support your teeth.
If the tooth has not completely detached from your gums, it may be saved with a process known as splinting. In this procedure, the dentist will use a piece of metal to attach two teeth together.
If you have loose teeth due to bruxism, there are a couple of options. First of all, the dentist may be able to adjust your bite by removing some of the tooth enamel from the bite surface. This reduces the pressure on the tooth, which allows healing. Another option for bruxism is to wear a nightguard to prevent the teeth from grinding together while you sleep.
Preventing Tooth Loss in Adults
While you may not be able to prevent a loose tooth, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Practice proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice daily
- Visit the dentist every 6 months for an exam and cleaning to detect problems early before they escalate
- Avoid smoking
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
- Wear a nightguard when sleeping if bruxism is an issue
- Learn more about supplements that can reduce your risk of conditions like osteoporosis such as vitamin D and calcium
- Keep your medical conditions under control, especially those that can be a risk factor for oral health issues
- Be aware of medications that you are on and the potential side effects they may have on your oral health
Schedule Your Dental Checkup Today
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of oral health issues is to visit the dentist every 6 months for a comprehensive exam and cleaning. The team at Arlington Dental Excellence offers dental care for patients of all ages from children to seniors. We have the experience and expertise to keep your smile healthy for life.
If you do lose your permanent teeth, we offer tooth replacement options such as dental implants, dentures, and bridges. We can help you find the one that is best for your situation based on your needs, expectations, and budget.