Loose teeth are also called Mobile teeth. Tooth mobility is the horizontal or vertical displacement of a tooth beyond its normal physiological boundaries around the gingival area, i.e. the medical term for a loose tooth.

Normal, physiologic tooth mobility of about 0.25 mm is present in health. This is because the tooth is not fused to the bones of the jaws, but is connected to the sockets by the periodontal ligament. This slight mobility accommodates forces on the teeth during chewing without damaging them. Milk (deciduous) teeth also become looser naturally just before their exfoliation. This is caused by gradual resorption of their roots, stimulated by the developing permanent tooth underneath.

Abnormal, pathologic tooth mobility occurs when the attachment of the periodontal ligament to the tooth is reduced or if the periodontal ligament is inflamed. Generally, the degree of mobility is inversely related to the amount of bone and periodontal ligament support left.

tooth mobility

Grades Of Tooth Mobility

The treatment of mobile depends on the grade of mobility according to the Scoring index

Score 0-  no detectable mobility 

Score 1-  distinguishable tooth mobility 

Score 2- crown of tooth moves more than 1 mm in any direction

Score 3- movement of tooth more than 2mm in horizontal and vertical direction

Grace & Smales Mobility Index

  • Grade 0: No apparent mobility
  • Grade 1: Perceptible mobility <1mm in buccolingual direction
  • Grade 2: >1mm but <2mm
  • Grade 3: >2mm or depressibility in the socket

Causes Of Tooth Mobility

Pathological

There are a number of pathological diseases or changes that can result in loose tooth. These include periodontal disease, periapical pathology, and some malignancies.

Periodontal disease

It is caused by inflammation of the gums and the supporting tissue due to dental plaque. Treatment for periodontal disease can stop the progressive loss of supportive structures but it cannot regrow to bone to make teeth stable again.

Periapical pathology

In cases where periapical pathology is present teeth also may have increased mobility. Severe infection at the apex of a tooth can again result in bone loss and this in turn can cause mobility.

Parafunctional habits

Bruxism, which is an abnormal repetitive movement disorder characterised by jaw clenching and tooth grinding,is also a causative factor in the development of dental issues, including tooth mobility.

Dental trauma

Dental trauma refers to any traumatic injuries to the dentition and their supporting structures.

Occlusal trauma

Excessive occlusal stresses refer to forces which exceed the limits of tissue adaptation, therefore causing occlusal trauma.

Orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment can cause increased tooth mobility during the course of treatment.

loose teeth

MANAGEMENT Of Loose Teeth

The treatment of tooth mobility depends on the aetiology and the grade of mobility.

Mobile or loose teeth can be a sign of gum disease or periodontitis and require immediate attention from a dentist or periodontist. Here are a few ways to fix mobile or loose teeth:

1. Scaling and Root planing:

A deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing can be used to remove plaque and calculus buildup that is causing gum disease. This can prevent further bone loss and stop the progression of mobile teeth.

Related Article :- What Is Professional Dental Cleaning?

2. Bone grafting:

In some cases, bone grafting may be needed to replace lost bone tissue around the affected teeth. This can help support the teeth and reduce mobility.

3. Splinting:

A dental splint can be used to attach the mobile tooth to adjacent stable teeth with the help of a wire or composite material. This can help stabilize the tooth and prevent further movement.

4. Orthodontic Treatment:

Orthodontic treatment can be used to realign any misaligned teeth that are contributing to gum disease and mobility. 

5. Surgery:

In severe cases, surgical intervention like gum grafting or pocket reduction surgery may be necessary to treat periodontitis and fix loose teeth.

It is essential to visit a dentist as soon as you notice any signs of mobile teeth to prevent further damage or tooth loss. The earlier the condition is identified and treated, the better are the chances for successful treatment and preservation of your teeth.

The Surgical Procedure To Fix Loose Teeth

The surgical procedure for mobile teeth usually involves gum grafting, pocket reduction surgery, or tooth extraction. Here are some details about each of these procedures:

1. Gum Grafting:

Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that involves taking healthy tissue from one area of the mouth, usually the roof of the mouth, and transplanting it to the area around the mobile tooth. This procedure is used to cover and protect exposed tooth roots, which can help stabilize the tooth and reduce mobility.

2. Pocket Reduction Surgery:

Pocket reduction surgery is another surgical procedure that involves removing bacteria and infected tissue from the gum pockets around the affected teeth. This procedure helps to reduce the depth of the pockets and prevent the progression of periodontal disease. It also helps to reduce tooth mobility by stabilizing the root of the tooth.

3. Tooth Extraction:

In severe cases of periodontal disease, where the tooth has become extremely mobile and unstable, tooth extraction may become necessary. This procedure is typically reserved for cases where the tooth cannot be saved through other means. Extracting the mobile tooth can help prevent the spread of the infection to surrounding teeth and reduce the risk of further bone loss.

It is important to seek the advice of a dental professional to determine the most appropriate treatment options for mobile teeth. Early identification and treatment of gum disease can help to prevent tooth mobility and the need for surgical intervention.

Splinting Procedure

Splinting is a dental procedure that involves attaching two or more teeth together to increase their stability and reduce their mobility. This procedure is typically used in cases where a tooth has become loose due to gum disease, trauma, or injury. 

During splinting, a dentist will place a wire or other material on the surface of the affected teeth, binding them together into a single unit. By connecting multiple teeth together, the splint helps distribute the force of biting and chewing evenly across the teeth, reducing the strain on the mobile tooth and preventing further damage or loss.

Materials Used For Splinting

Splinting can be performed using a variety of materials, including

-Wires

-Composite resin

Fiber-reinforced composite strips

The type of material used will depend on the specific needs of the patient and the severity of the tooth mobility.

Splinting is a temporary fix and usually remains in place for several weeks to allow the affected teeth to stabilize. Once the periodontal ligament is strong enough to support the tooth on its own, the splinting material is removed. In some cases, the splint may be replaced with a more permanent solution, such as a dental bridge or implant, to provide long-term stability to the affected teeth.

HOME REMEDIES TO FIX LOOSE TEETH NATURALLY

1. Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.

2. Use a mouthwash: Mouthwash helps to kill bacteria and prevent gum disease.

3. Eat a healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy teeth and gums.

4. Apply a cold compress: If your teeth are painful or swollen, apply a cold compress to the affected area for 10-15 minutes, several times a day.

5. Avoid or reduce use of tobacco products: Smoking or chewing tobacco can contribute to gum disease and loose teeth.

Please note that the above strategies may not address the underlying cause of mobile teeth. If the tooth mobility is due to gum disease, it is important to see a dentist or periodontist for professional treatment.

Factors contributing To Loosening Of Teeth

1. Gum disease: The most common cause of loose or mobile teeth is gum disease or periodontitis. Gum disease occurs when there is damage or inflammation to the gums that support the teeth, causing them to become loose and eventually fall out.

2. Trauma: Teeth can become loose if they have experienced trauma, such as a sports injury or an accident.

3. Bruxism: Clenching or grinding of teeth can cause the teeth to become loose due to excessive pressure on the tooth’s ligaments and supporting structures.

4. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects bone density and strength. It can also impact the jawbone, which can lead to loose teeth.

5. Poor oral health habits: Poor oral hygiene practices, such as not brushing and flossing regularly or not receiving routine dental check-ups, can contribute to gum disease and loose teeth.

6. Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and cancer treatments, can also lead to tooth mobility.

If you experience tooth mobility, it’s important to see a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible to identify and address the underlying cause.

Can Loose Teeth Be Reversed

The ability to reverse mobile teeth depends on the underlying cause. If the tooth mobility is due to poor oral hygiene practices, changes in one’s oral hygiene habits can help to prevent further damage and improve the condition of the gums and teeth. If the tooth mobility is due to gum disease, professional treatment by a dentist or periodontist may be needed to help manage the condition and prevent further damage. Treatments may include deep cleaning, scaling and root planing, and oral antibiotics. In some severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

However, it is important to note that in some cases, tooth mobility may not be reversible. This is particularly true if the tooth has suffered significant damage or if it has not received treatment in a timely manner. It’s crucial to see a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible if you experience tooth mobility to prevent further damage and loss of teeth.

Related Article :- What Is Professional Dental Cleaning?

FAQs

1.Can a loose tooth be tightened?

A loose tooth can be tightened up in some instances, but you need to seek professional guidance. 

If treated on time with proper care, loose teeth can be reversed and fixed properly.

Your dentist will suggest treatments and remedies after conducting an oral examination.

2. How do you stop a loose tooth from falling out?

It will help if you take certain measures to prevent a loose tooth from falling out, such as not brushing hard on the affected tooth, avoiding touching it (by tongue or finger), and more. Then, visit your dentist so that she can suggest the stabilizer or splint to recover the loose tooth.

3. How can I stabilize my loose teeth at home?

Stabilizing loose teeth at home might be difficult. Therefore, you need to seek immediate professional attention while experiencing loose teeth. If it’s grade 1 mobile, you go for home remedies like saltwater gargle or massaging with suitable gum paint to strengthen loose teeth.

4. How do dentists fix loose teeth?

It depends on the extent of mobility and the health of the surrounding tissue. Your dentist will use a stabilizer or splint to the surface of your loose tooth to bond or connect it with the nearby strong teeth after correcting the real cause of the loosening. 

5. Can saltwater gargles tighten loose teeth?

Gargling or irrigation with saltwater (warm saline rinse)  rinses out the hidden bacteria in the mouth but cannot totally correct the mobile teeth.

6. How can I strengthen my teeth naturally?

Preventing the loosening of teeth can be done by Maintaining proper oral hygiene, consuming a healthy diet, eliminate sugar intake, and visit your dentist regularly. 

7. What happens if a loose tooth stays in too long?

A loose tooth may cause discomfort if it stays for too long. Difficulty in chewing and maintaing oral hygeine. If children have primary teeth, the loose teeth will eventually fall out on their own. However, when adults have loose teeth, it is recommended to seek the teeth checked by the dentist and get proper treatment.

8. Is it normal for a loose tooth to turn gray?

Generally, a loose tooth does change its color unless there’s damage to the tooth’s blood vessels or other structure. In this case, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

9. Should you pull loose teeth

Teeth with little mobility can be corrected without extraction but grade 3 or advanced mobile teeth with weak peridontium are advised to be extracted or will fall out eventually.

Related Article :- What Is Professional Dental Cleaning?

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