We know that baby teeth are meant to wiggle and eventually fall out. However, when a permanent tooth starts to wiggle, we can’t help but panic. Nobody wants to lose an adult tooth; they’re expected to last for a lifetime, no matter how much pressure we put on them. So what should you do if you find a wiggly tooth?
If any of your teeth move more than 1 mm, you should visit your dentist. Wiggling teeth can indicate issues like gum disease, poor oral hygiene, osteoporosis, and bruxism. In most cases, a loose tooth can be treated as long as you seek care quickly after you first notice the issue.
Wiggling teeth is something to take seriously. Let’s take a look at the signs of a wiggling tooth, various treatment options, and preventive measures. It’s nothing to be worried about once you’re armed with a little information on how to understand what you’re experiencing and what to do about it.
Is It Normal for a Permanent Tooth to Wiggle?
Baby teeth coming loose or wiggling is normal, since they’re supposed to fall off. But is it normal for permanent, adult teeth to wiggle?
Slight movement of your permanent teeth is pretty normal. It is due to the flexibility of the muscle fibers (periodontal ligaments) that hold your tooth in place, even as you chew and grind food. Wiggling is even a strong word for this, as the movement is so slight that it seems imaginary at times.
But if a permanent tooth is wiggling a considerable amount, it might be a sign of an injury or a disease. Normal teeth don’t wiggle more than 1 mm. So, if you notice your tooth wiggling way more than it should, it’s best to get it checked by a professional.
Even if you use a strengthening toothpaste like Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste (on Amazon), you can still experience a wiggling tooth. There are many reasons that a tooth might become loose.
Sometimes, an accident or facial injury can disturb the connective tissue fibers holding your teeth. This can lead to a tooth wiggle. If unchecked and uncared for, you can lose more than one tooth.
Having wiggling teeth can be annoying. It can disturb your eating and cleaning routine. It can make you afraid to brush your teeth properly, as you might be afraid of the tooth falling off. So, the best solution here is to get a dental check-up.
8 Reasons Why Your Tooth Might Be Wiggling
When your periodontal ligament becomes too flexible, you experience a tooth wiggle. It can occur to more than one tooth, and it can be quite disturbing. But what are the causes behind this phenomenon? These are some of the possible causes:
- Poor oral hygiene leading to gum diseases
- A facial injury
- Dental plaque build-up
- Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
- Hereditary reasons
- Weakening of jaw bone
- Secondary trauma from malocclusion
Let’s take a closer look at each of this causes.
Gum and periodontal diseases are the most common culprit for wiggling teeth. Gum diseases can occur if you don’t take care of your oral hygiene or miss your regular preventative cleanings at the dentist. If they aren’t treated on time, gum diseases can spread to the bone and muscles holding your tooth in place.
The bacteria that cause gum diseases can eat up the surrounding ligaments and bones. It can reduce the hold of your periodontal ligament on the tooth, resulting in a loose tooth.
If you fell or had an accident and it injured a part of your face near your tooth, this can affect the periodontal ligaments. In most cases, when the injury is cured, the tooth follows suit. However, you should still get it checked in case there is a bigger problem.
Dental Plaque Buildup
Dental plaque buildup causes gum diseases. It usually results from unhygienic dental practices. Dental plaque is a home for different types of bacteria. This bacteria can cause inflammation in your gums (gingivitis) and make the surrounding area weak. All this can be avoided if you take proper care of your oral hygiene.
If you catch gum disease on time, you shouldn’t have to lose a tooth. Your loose tooth will most probably be treatable if it isn’t too late. With proper treatment and better hygienic practices, you will be able to cure a wiggling tooth. Look out for these signs of gum disease:
- Swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Deep pockets formed between the teeth and gums
- Redness on the gums
- Bleeding gums while brushing teeth
Bruxism (Grinding and Clenching)
Bruxism is a condition in which the patient unconsciously clenches their jaw or grinds their teeth too hard. It can occur during sleep or while being awake.
Grinding the teeth too hard puts so much unbearable pressure on your teeth that it can lead to a loose tooth. The chances of a loose tooth become higher when there is underlying gum disease or infection.
Sometimes, people are born with tissue and bone structure that makes their gums and teeth more susceptible to infection. The tissues holding the teeth can be naturally weaker, leading to a loose tooth in adulthood.
People born with more of the alveolar mucosa tissue surrounding their teeth are more vulnerable to bacterial attack and infection. This tissue is thin and less resilient to bacterial invasions.
Osteoporosis (Weak Jaw Bones)
Osteoporosis weakens the bones and can affect any bone including the jaw bone. When the jaw bone becomes weak, its hold on the teeth gets reduced, resulting in a wiggling tooth. Osteoporosis can occur due to deficiencies like estrogen and calcium.
During pregnancy, the bones and ligaments can become fragile. This can affect the jaw bone, which is why some women experience a wiggling tooth during pregnancy. Taking the right supplements can save you from a loose tooth during and after pregnancy.
Secondary Trauma From Malocclusion
This occurs when you have a tooth, or teeth, that are hitting each other with a lot more force than is normally expected. This can be tested by a dentist, who will have you bite your teeth together and feel for excessive vibrations.
If, for example, you have too much force hitting your top front tooth due to the force of the bottom front teeth, it can lead to some movement over time. Depending on the severity of the forces, symptoms may occur gradually or quite rapidly.
Can A Loose Tooth Be Fixed?
In most cases, a loose tooth can be fixed with improvements to oral hygiene or other treatments. However, this is generally only possible when the wiggling tooth is a fairly new issue.
Therefore, the best choice is to go to your dentist and get your loose tooth checked as soon as you notice it. There are different procedures to treat a wiggling tooth depending upon its root cause. If your treatment starts on time, you will be able to save your loose tooth and get it fixed.
Most of the time, a wiggling tooth can be stabilized, but you shouldn’t try to do it at home. Going to your dentist and listening to their advice can save your tooth.
What Should I Do if a Permanent Tooth Feels Loose?
If you feel like a permanent tooth is much looser than it should be, you should go to a dentist immediately. The looseness could be due to various reasons like gum diseases, deficiencies, injury, etc.
Only your dentist can suggest the right treatment for a loose tooth. Depending upon the cause of a loose tooth, there are different methods to pursue. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Proper Dental Hygiene
If you have gum disease that is causing a loose tooth, procedures like scaling and root planing may be enough to treat your tooth. Your dentist will suggest that you properly brush, floss your teeth with floss picks like the Plackers Micro Mint Floss Picks (on Amazon), and take care of your dental hygiene.
Scaling and root planing involves deep cleaning of your gums and teeth so that the bacteria can be removed from the infected area.
If your loose tooth is still in contact with your gums, the dentist will use a metal splint and attach the tooth to the neighboring tooth. This way the two teeth become a single unit and get strong enough to function properly.
Bone and Gum Grafting
If a part of your bone or gum has eroded, it can be grafted with grafting material or part of the bone from another area. This allows for the bone to restore its normal hold and for normal functioning to resume.
Composite bonding is another way to restore the structure of a tooth or nearby area. It keeps the tooth intact and also enhances the overall appearance of your smile.
How Long Does It Take for a Wiggling Tooth to Heal?
Depending upon the cause of your loose tooth, the healing time will vary.
Usually, if you get a splint, it can take a few weeks for the tooth to heal. Intense treatments for gum and periodontal ligament diseases, meanwhile, can take one month or more to heal.
If your dentist suggests that you use a night guard to avoid grinding or supplements for a stronger jaw bone, you can expect a few weeks before noticing a change in the wiggle.
If your tooth is wiggling because of an injury or due to pregnancy, it might heal only when the injury is cured and your pregnancy is over.
The bottom line is that you should always seek professional expertise if you experience a wiggly tooth so you can address it before it’s too late.