Loose teeth can occur as a result of common dental conditions, mouth injuries and poor oral hygiene. Additionally, certain ailments and diseases can weaken teeth, causing bone, gum, or muscle damage. In order to develop an adequate treatment to solve the underlying problem, the dentist must first diagnose the cause.
Conditions Leading to Loose Teeth
The most common causes for loose teeth are bite or jaw misalignment, mouth injury and periodontal disease. Bite misalignment, no matter how small, causes pressure on the surrounding muscles and tissues of the teeth. Jaw misalignment can result in broken, chipped or loose teeth. Mouth trauma can result in injury to one or more teeth. Periodontal disease leads to gum recession--the leading cause of loose teeth.
Preventive measures are the best way to prevent loose teeth. Good oral hygiene is a good starting point, but is not enough on its own. Periodic dental visits--at least twice a year--are essential as well. When potential problems are identified and treated early, loose teeth may be avoided altogether.
Herbs like alum, alma, Bilberry root, chaparral, Hawthorn berry, liquorice root and turmeric can improve oral health. They can be made into tea or a mouthwash, rubbed directly into the gums or taken in pill form.
Treatments for Loose Teeth
Bite misalignment can often be corrected with braces, invisible snap-in trays, night guards or retainers. Most are temporary and can correct the problem without further complications.
Jaw misalignment, if diagnosed early, can be self-treated with exercises to relax jaw muscles, by switching to soft foods requiring little or no chewing, by using cold packs on painful joints or hot packs to soothe sore muscles. Chronic pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory, muscle-relaxing and non-steroidal drugs. In severe cases surgery may be required to repair ligaments or reset cartilage that is out of line. Sometimes wisdom teeth are pulled to ensure proper jaw alignment.
Mouth injuries can vary. Teeth can be knocked out or just loosened, but in both cases, it is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible. Mild injuries can often be repaired with a splint or by using orthodontic appliances. Some cases will require repair or replacement of the surrounding gum tissue. In serious cases, the tooth may be removed and replanted.
Treatment for periodontal disease will depend on its severity. Medications may be used to treat infection. Deep cleaning will be performed to remove tartar from the surface of the teeth as well as under the gum line. In severe cases, surgery is required to plane tooth roots to remove bacteria or to do flap surgery to remove plaque that cannot be reached by normal means. This is done by lifting the gums away from the teeth for cleaning and then resuturing them back in place. Sometimes bone or tissue grafts may also be required.