How to save loose teeth | Smile Stories Bournemouth

Can You Save Loose Teeth?

A wobbly tooth is always a cause for concern. Although it may be tempting, do not move your tooth with your fingers or push it with your tongue to find out how loose it is. When you wiggle it about, you will loosen it further, and it is more likely to fall out. 

Even if your tooth feels slightly loose, you should seek advice from a dentist. But don’t panic. Often the correct dental treatment can save your tooth. Read on to find out what causes loose teeth and how to save them.

What Causes Loose Teeth?

The most common cause of loose teeth is periodontitis (gum disease), which leads to receding gums. Over time as the gums start to pull away from your teeth, bacteria build up in the gaps that attack the supporting tissue and bone structure. Receding gums also make teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. 

Periodontitis causes gums to recede. They will not grow back, if left untreated, your teeth will eventually fall out. Because gum disease rarely causes much pain, it is relatively easy to ignore until you are faced with a loose tooth. Ideally, you don’t want to let it progress to this stage. 

Signs of gum disease include:

  • bleeding, 
  • sore, swollen, or red
  • pulling away from the tooth
  • wobbly or loose teeth
  • bad breath.

What may not seem like a problem now can lead to tooth loss. But treating gum disease early can save your teeth, save you a lot of money and probably pain later on. 

Another cause of loose teeth is bruxism (teeth grinding) which can put pressure on the root of the teeth over time. Additionally, grinding will typically lead to worn-down front teeth and can cause chips or fractures in teeth. An effective way to prevent teeth grinding at night is to wear a mouth guard. You can purchase mouth guards from shops like Boots and online, but they are not going to be as comfortable as a custom-made mouth guard from a dentist. A custom-made mouth guard will fit your bite and teeth perfectly. They are also made of superior plastic, making them less likely to tear or get worn down and typically last a lot longer.

Can a Loose Tooth Be Saved?

In most cases, it is possible to save loose teeth. Depending on the reason for the loose tooth and how wobbly it is, there are various treatments your dentist could suggest.

Loose Teeth and Swollen Gums

If you have a slightly loose tooth with swollen or bleeding gums and no pain, you might not think it is an emergency. And although it is not an emergency, in the same way an extremely loose tooth is, you should still get dental treatment as soon as possible. The tooth will continue to loosen as gum disease progresses.

Treating gum disease early can reverse it and prevent the need for gum grafts. Usually, a deep clean, followed by a scale and polish a few weeks later, will allow the gums to heal. You can maintain healthy gums and save your teeth with good oral hygiene practices. 

Following a deep clean, the dentist will assess if the tooth needs to be stabilised. This is a relatively simple procedure called tooth splinting, which joins the tooth to the surrounding teeth with a splint held behind the teeth. This will typically need to be in place for 14 days to completely stabilise the loose tooth and allow the socket to tighten back up.

A Loose Tooth with an Abscess

When an abscess develops, typical signs include:

  • constant pain
  • pain when chewing
  • tender, red and swollen gums
  • swollen face or jaw
  • sensitivity to hot and cold
  • a nasty taste 
  • a high temperature.

A dental abscess is a dental emergency and in rare cases, can lead to sepsis — an extremely serious condition that could be fatal. The abscess will need to be treated before any other dental treatment. Your dentist will treat an abscess in the gums by making a small incision to allow any build-up of pus to drain away. This might sound scary, but a local anaesthetic is injected before to ensure this is completely painless. You may also need to take antibiotics to clear up the infection. 

The next stage of your treatment will depend on the tooth’s health. If there is decay, you will likely need a root canal, and then tooth splinting. Once the tooth has tightened back up, you may need a crown to save the tooth and protect it from further stress and damage. 

A Loose Tooth after an Accident

Following trauma and a hard impact, a tooth might become loose or come out. In this situation, it is critical to get to a dentist immediately to have a chance of saving the tooth. When a tooth has been knocked out, you should rinse it gently in water, place it back into the socket and then gently bite down on a wet flannel. This will help to temporarily secure it, although it will still be wobbly, and you will need to be careful not to bite down on it. 

When your injury is too severe, and you cannot place the tooth back into the socket, it is essential to keep the tooth moist. The best way to save a tooth that has been knocked out is to put it in milk and get to a dentist within 60 minutes. When a tooth is not put back into the socket and splinted within 60 minutes, it is far less likely to survive.  

Invisalign Treatment

If you have only ever thought orthodontic treatment is for straightening teeth and creating a perfect smile, you are certainly not alone. Yet orthodontics does a lot more than give you perfectly straight teeth. In most cases, a misaligned bite is the reason teeth are crooked, which can put extra pressure on teeth. 

Once an abscess or gum disease has been treated, braces or Invisalign treatment can realign your bite and help prevent future stress on your teeth. This is especially important if you have a tooth or teeth that are only slightly wobbly and have been splinted successfully. You can even have Invisalign with crowns and veneers

Because Invisalign treatment uses removable plastic aligners, there is far less risk of damage. The controlled force of the Invisalign aligners over time may also regenerate bone lost due to gum disease, which will help give your teeth a more stable foundation.

Dental Implants vs Bridges

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to save really loose teeth or a tooth that has come out. In this case, you have a couple of options. You can put up with the gap, which is not recommended as this can lead to other teeth becoming loose due to a lack of support from the missing tooth. A gap can also lead to problems when chewing, increase the chance of gum disease and infections and cause your bite to change over time. 

The second option is to have a dental bridge with a porcelain tooth placed in the gap and then bonded to the teeth on either side. This is a less expensive option than a dental implant. However, as the tooth rests on top of the gum, the lack of the tooth root stimulating the jaw bone can lead to bone loss. 

The third option is a dental implant. Unlike a bridge, a dental implant is not fixed to the teeth on either side and is secured with a metal post that is put into the jaw. A tooth implant is considered the ultimate way to replace a lost tooth, as it will stimulate bone growth and prevent future bone loss. In the long run, a dental implant is the best option and will help to protect the rest of your teeth from tooth loss. 

You may feel embarrassed or worried about going to a dentist with a loose tooth or one that has fallen out. At Smile Stories dental clinic in Bournemouth, we understand that you may also feel scared and nervous, especially if you have had bad experiences with dentists. But we promise that we will not lecture you about your oral health and you will never feel rushed. We also ensure all of our treatments are painless with carefully injected local anaesthetic. 

If you are concerned about gum disease or loose teeth, don’t wait until your tooth falls out. The sooner you have dental treatment, the higher the possibility of saving your teeth, which ultimately is the best solution. But if you have lost a tooth, a bridge or dental implants can restore your smile.

You deserve a smile that makes you feel confident, and whatever problems you have, there is always a solution. Ready to begin your journey to healthy teeth and gums? Please call us or book your FREE VIDEO CONSULTATION here!


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) qualified from dental school with honours. Practising from Bournemouth and Poole, he has a keen interest in orthodontics and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign provider. Smile Stories provide teeth whitening Bournemouth.

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