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Show Your Teeth Some Respect

Think about how many times per day you rely on your teeth. You use them to chew breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You press your tongue against them to make certain sounds when you speak. There's really no doubt about it — your teeth are important, and they deserve your respect. You can pay them that respect by visiting your dentist for regular cleaning and checkup appointments. You should also call at the first sign of dental pain, tooth discoloration, or other oral health changes. Read more about dentists and dentistry here on this blog, where we dive deep into related topics.

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Show Your Teeth Some Respect

Why Does Your Permanent Tooth Feel Loose?

by April Myers

It can be a little disconcerting to have a loose tooth if it's not a baby tooth. There are lots of possible reasons for increased tooth mobility, and there are solutions to this problem. Read on to learn more.

What Causes Tooth Mobility?

Your teeth are held in place by jaw bone and by periodontal ligaments (PDLs). The PDLs consist of collagen bands and connect the roots of your teeth to the tooth socket. Sometimes, due to trauma—like after jaw surgery—the PDLs can become stretched out, thus causing tooth mobility.

Are you dealing with gingivitis? If gingivitis is left unchecked, then it can turn into gum disease, and bone tissue and PDLs can break down and become weaker because of inflammation and infection.

Do you grind your teeth at night? Bruxism can cause tooth mobility because of excess forces on one aspect of a tooth. Without orthodontic care, some people can develop tooth mobility from uneven wear from a crooked bite.

How Can Your Dentist Fix the Problem?

If tooth mobility is caused by an infection, such as from unchecked gum disease, then the first step would be to get that treated. For example, you may need to see a specialist, like an endodontist or periodontist, to get diseased tissue treated and removed before dealing with tooth mobility.

If you have a loose tooth because your bite is incorrect and placing too much pressure on one tooth, then your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment. If you don't want to undergo orthodontic treatment, your dentist could do enamel abrasion. He or she could make minor adjustments and reshape biting surfaces so the loose tooth receives less force when you chew.

People who grind their teeth may be able to reduce tooth mobility by wearing a mouthguard at night. If tooth mobility is caused by trauma or other sources, your dentist might recommend temporary mechanical splinting.

What Is Mechanical Splinting?

During mechanical splinting, your dentist may cement or bond a small rigid metal splint to the biting surfaces or behind teeth. The idea is that the loose tooth won't experience the full weight of biting forces when you eat; the splint will redistribute the pressure to other teeth so that PDLs can heal. Plus, if your adjacent teeth aren't loose, then the tooth with mobility will be able to be better supported. Once the collagen fibers of the PDLs heal, then the splint can be removed. Along with splinting, your dentist may recommend that you eat softer foods for a while until the PDLs strengthen.

Loose teeth don't always mean that you have an infection or need an extraction. Reach out to your dentist ASAP to make sure that you can fix tooth mobility before it gets worse.

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