Loose Teeth — Causes and Solutions

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Loose Teeth — Causes and Solutions

3 January 2017
Dentist, Blog

When one of your adult teeth becomes wobbly, it's very worrying. This clearly indicates a problem that requires urgent investigation by your dentist. But what causes adult teeth to become loose and how can your dentist solve the problem? Read on for more information.

Causes of Loose Adult Teeth

Apart from a traumatic injury, the main reason for loose teeth is damage to the ligaments that hold the teeth firmly in place in your jaw. Loosened ligaments can be caused by 'primary occlusal trauma' or excessive bite force. Excessive bite force can be the result of habitual teeth grinding (bruxism) or teeth clenching. Poor tooth alignment can also cause primary occlusal trauma. If excessive bite force is applied to your teeth, it can result in prolonged force that can't be tolerated by one or more of your teeth.

Periodontal disease can cause significant bone loss around the teeth. This bone loss can cause a condition called 'secondary occlusal trauma'. This makes the ligaments unable to take the force of your bite due to the lack of bone around the teeth concerned.


If your loose teeth are caused by disease, your dentist will prescribe an appropriate course of treatment and drug therapy to address the problem. This approach will usually be taken before any mechanical intervention is undertaken.  

If your teeth and gums are free from disease, a more mechanical approach will be adopted. The treatment that your dentist will prescribe will depend on the cause of the problem, but may include the following options:

Tooth Reshaping and Realignment

It may be possible to reduce the amount of bite force being placed on the tooth surface by reshaping it. In some cases, braces or retainers may be recommended to change the alignment of the teeth.

Mouth Guard

If you suffer from teeth clenching or teeth grinding, a mouth guard worn at night can provide an effective cushion between the upper and lower teeth. Mouth guards are very effective at relieving excessive bite force and, when used permanently, can give the ligaments a chance to recover.

Teeth Splints

Your dentist may join your teeth together using dental splints in order to distribute the bite force more equally between them. This treatment can be useful when bone loss is to blame for your loose teeth. Splinting may be used as a temporary or permanent solution.

In Conclusion

If you discover that one or more of your teeth has become loose for no obvious reason, always consult your dentist straight away; ignoring the problem could see it get worse and you may even lose the loose tooth altogether.