Just because you are getting a little older doesn’t mean that your oral health should begin to fail. Many Americans put off going to the dentist to diagnose what is causing their teeth to become loose and brush the issue off as a natural part of aging. More often than not, however, there is a serious underlying dental-related issue or a problem that requires periodontal care and if not properly addressed by your dental professional, it will worsen with time.
Causes and Treatments of Loose Teeth:
Periodontitis – Also known as advanced gum disease, this is a leading cause for adult teeth to become loose. This disease begins with oral bacterial growth and can cause teeth to feel loose as the tissue that surrounds the teeth deteriorates. Toxins produced by the bacteria start to break down the bone and connective tissue that anchor teeth in place. As the disease advances, tissue and bone pull away from teeth forming pockets that, if left untreated, will deepen and continue to collect bacteria and destroy the tooth’s supporting structure. The deterioration of tissue and bone will eventually lead to tooth loss.
There are various surgical and non-surgical options available to treat periodontitis and to restore supportive tissue and bone. To determine which is right for you, it’s best to meet with a periodontist. Non-surgical treatments include dental scaling and root planing in order to remove plaque and tartar from both above and below the gum line. Plaque is scraped away and rough spots on the tooth’s root are made smooth so that bacteria will have fewer crevices in which to collect.
Surgical procedures are generally more complex. Depending on the severity of the disease, your dentist or periodontist may recommend procedures ranging from pocket reduction surgery to tissue and bone grafts. Pocket reduction surgery is where, after proper plaque removal, the gums are reshaped so that the tissue fits more snugly around the tooth. This will help reduce bacteria from affecting the tooth below the gum line. Bone grafts involve implanting natural or synthetic bone to the area where the bone has deteriorated, and in most cases, you will be referred to an oral surgeon to have the procedure performed. The grafts will help support teeth while fostering the regeneration of natural bone and will help restore the tooth’s stability, as well as improving overall oral health.
Osteoporosis – Also known as brittle bone disease, osteoporosis can affect all of the bones in the body including the jawbone and can cause teeth to become loose. This disease weakens bones and decreases overall bone density over time. Studies have shown that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without the disease.
A healthy lifestyle is vital for keeping bones strong and healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D may help fight the effects of this disease before the consequences become critical. Engaging in physical activity such as walking, jogging and weight-bearing activities can also help keep bones strong. When it comes to the jawbone, activity such as chewing and biting can keep bones strong by keeping them in use. Be sure to speak with your dentist about preventive dental care if you have been diagnosed with and/or are being treated for osteoporosis.
Oral Trauma & Teeth Grinding – Another common cause for teeth to become loose is oral trauma or injury. When severe oral impact occurs, the ligaments that hold your tooth roots in place can become overextended and cause the tooth to loosen. The force from clenching and grinding teeth can also cause overextension of the tooth’s supportive ligaments. Studies show that many Americans grind their teeth unconsciously or subconsciously due to stressful situations while awake and/or while experiencing disturbed sleep patterns.
Your dental professional may suggest you wear a custom-fitted bite plate during the day or at night, depending on when you tend to grind or clench your teeth. These appliances are formed to absorb the force of contact and should reduce trauma to affected teeth. Since grinding has been commonly attributed to stress, it is sometimes helpful to engage in relaxing activities such as meditation and yoga.
If your teeth have become noticeably loose due to periodontal disease, trauma or grinding habits speak to your dentist or a qualified periodontist about treatment options before the issue progresses and tooth loss becomes inevitable.
For more information about tooth loss and periodontal care, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.