Tooth mobility or loose teeth is one of the most common tooth related problems. The predominant cause for the teeth becoming loose is gum infection. Other reasons why your teeth can become loose or mobile include
- Trauma or injury
- Tooth fracture
- Advanced tooth decay
- Occlusal trauma
- Excessive orthodontic forces
- Contact sports
Sometimes tooth mobility can be “normal” or physiological. Some shakeiness in the teeth in the morning on waking up is normal. This is called “physiological tooth mobility”. This becomes normal as the day progresses, with the chewing forces. Another reason for tooth mobility is when the milk teeth fall off.
How does gum infection cause tooth mobility?
The gums are the supporting parts of the teeth. When they become infected, the support for the teeth is weakened. A neglected gum infection can lead to a deeper infection of the gums called “periodontitis”. This is when the bone is infected. Bone dissolution due to infection leads to loose teeth.
What are the signs and symptoms of a gum infection?
The initial signs of a gum infection include
- Bleeding gums (either during brushing or on touching the gums)
- Tartar deposit on teeth
- Bad breath
- Redness in the gums
- Sponginess of gums
You have to visit your dentist or your dental hygienist at this point and get your teeth cleaned to remove the tartar and stop the gum infection. A neglected gum infection can lead to the severe condition of periodontitis, which may include
- Bleeding gums
- Mobile teeth
- Increasing gaps between the teeth ( Pathological tooth migration)
- Extrusion or teeth moving out of its socket
- Pain in the gums
- Pain on trying to chew food
- Tenderness when teeth touch each other
- Food impaction between teeth
What should I do when I have mobile teeth in my mouth?
Visit your dentist and discuss the treatment options available for severe gum infection. You dentist may recommend the following treatment options depending on the severity of the infection
- Scaling and polishing ( oral prophylaxis)
- Root planing and curettage
- Flap surgery (conventional or laser surgery)
- Bone grafts
- Splinting to stabilise the mobile teeth
- Caps on the teeth connecting each other to stabilise the teeth
- Occlusal adjustments
- Tooth removal in severe mobility and tooth replacement
How can I prevent my teeth from becoming loose?
Meticulous oral hygiene is the key to healthy gums. Your dentist or dental hygienist will guide you on the daily oral hygiene methods. Do talk to your dentist about your concerns and seek the proper guidance. Follow these instructions for your hygiene routine
- Regular and proper brushing and flossing
- Interdental (in-between teeth) cleaning with floss, interdental brushes or water flosser.
- Rinsing mouth with a mouthwash
- Regular warm salt water rinses
- Use of night guards or sports guards
- Avoid smoking
- Regular visits to your dentist say once in 4 months for a check up.
Please note that pregnancy by itself does not cause tooth mobility. Neglecting oral hygiene initiates a gum infection during pregnancy. Please talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about the procedures of simple scaling and fillings, which are absolutely safe during pregnancy.