Accidents will happen. You’ve bitten down on something tough, slipped and fell, or maybe even gotten into an altercation. The end result? One of your teeth is feeling loose. Will a loose tooth tighten back up or is it time to see the dentist? In today’s article we are going to discuss that loose tooth and let you know exactly what you should do. So let’s take a moment and discuss loose teeth.
Can a loose tooth be saved?
Actually, yes, a loose tooth can be saved if tended properly. If you neglect it, however, then you may well end up loosing it so you will want to schedule a dentist appointment immediately. Time is of the essence so you will want to set up an appointment and if you cannot go in right away, you will want to treat that tooth with the utmost care.
How long does it take for a loose tooth to fall out?
This is going to depend on a number of factors but the rough answer is ‘anywhere from 2 hours to a month’. You will want to follow some specific care steps in order to maximize the time that you have and ensure that it is sufficient for you to visit the dentist and get the issue corrected. If the tooth falls out, then you must replace it in it’s socket and seek out the dentist RIGHT AWAY. Once a tooth has fallen out then you only have about 2 hours to get it remediated rather than ‘lost’. As long as the tooth is ‘hanging in there’, however, then you can adopt a care regimen to help to keep it in place until you can get to the dentist.
A loose tooth doesn’t have to be the product of a fall, a fight, or a particularly rough chew, there are other factors that can contribute to and cause your teeth to loosen. Some symptoms to look for are as follows:
- Bleeding, swollen, tender, or receding gums
- ‘Pockets’ between tooth and gum
- Noticeable changes in bite
How do you keep a loose tooth from falling out until you get to the dentist?
Once you have identified that the tooth is truly loose then you must proceed to take care of it if you want to keep it. The following actions are a good idea in order to keep your tooth in place until dental care may be provided:
- Keep the tooth immobile – Biting down gently on a cloth can help to keep your tooth in place.
- Modify your diet – Don’t eat hard foods unless you want to make the tooth worse. Stick to jello, applesauce, and soups until you can get to your dentist.
What kind of treatment will the dentist use to save the tooth?
When your dentist has identified exactly what is causing the loose tooth then they will be able to prescribe the right treatment for dealing with the issue. This can involve one of the following procedures:
- Splinting – Utilizing a bond between two teeth or metal, your dentist can effectively ‘splint’ the tooth into place as a temporary (or in some cases, permanent) solution.
- Bone graft – In the case of disease or advanced deterioration of the bone, a fragment of bone may be used in conjunction with grafting in order to return stability to the tooth.
“Your dentist can stabilize the tooth and reattach the gums.”
- Flap surgery – By pulling back the gums and scaling, or cleaning the root, your dentist can stabilize the tooth and reattach the gums in an attempt to retain your tooth.
If the cause of the loose tooth or teeth is tooth grinding then a different solution may be in order. Typically it will be one of these two options:
- Custom Mouth guard – A custom mouth guard can keep you from grinding your teeth at night and loosening any teeth further. In time, the grinding may stop and the guard will no longer be required but you will need to consult your dentist for more information in this regard.
- Bite adjustment procedure – Your dentist can shave your current tooth enamel in such a way as to ensure a better fit for your bite. This will reduce pressure on the other teeth and your gums and should prevent more loose teeth in the future.
Can I just use super glue for my loose tooth?
Superglue is toxic and this is definitely a bad idea. Aside from the off chance that you will momentarily glue your finger or lip to your tooth you also need to consider that it is water soluble to an extent. This means that even a successful bond will over time, slowly leech chemicals into your mouth. A final consideration is that if you stabilize the tooth somehow at a poor angle then you could end up damaging that tooth and others further. As such, you will want to stay away from superglue and leave the loose tooth to the professionals.
Warning: Multiple loose teeth may be indicative of gum disease
If your gums are receding, inflamed, or you are seeing pockets between your teeth and gums then you will want to make sure that your dentist rules out gum disease. Typically the first symptoms are going to be bleeding gums, followed by inflammation, and then possible infection. If it IS gum disease, don’t worry. It is actually quite common and your dentist can help you to manage it easily… just make that appointment!
In today’s article we have talked about what you should do if you have a loose tooth in order to prevent further damage and loss. A tooth does not just come loose on its own, so don’t put it off. Make an appointment with your dentist TODAY and the tooth will be stabilized and healthy again in no time!