You should indeed be concerned if you are an adult and have a loose tooth. You realize that is not a normal situation and is indicative of a major problem. Cosmetic dentists and family dentists would be able to help the situation if there is anything that can still be done about that loose tooth.
Was the tooth loosened by a sports or other injury? Then there might be a good chance that your dentist can replant it if it is in good condition. Call the office immediately to find out what steps are necessary to save the tooth and transport it safely and quickly.
Sports injuries are a leading cause of knocked-out teeth, so helmets, mouth guards and face masks should be standard equipment. If a store-bought mouth guard isn’t comfortable, a customized one can be purchased from your dentist.
If the tooth was loosened due to periodontal gum disease, the supporting bone that held the tooth in place has started to erode away, the periodontal ligament that attaches the bone to the teeth has become progressively lost, and the gums are stripped back.
Periodontal ligaments are thousands of tiny rubber bands all around the roots of our teeth lined up like small springs on a trampoline. They allow teeth to bounce in their sockets without breaking.
The most common trauma that causes looseness is clenching teeth while we sleep with teeth forced tightly shut for many hours. Some symptoms of that clenching include sore jaw and facial and muscles, tiny fracture lines in tooth surfaces, and a sensitivity to cold temperatures.
Other factors that lead to loosening include lack of a good daily oral hygiene program, not eating a healthy balanced diet, lack of regular dental cleanings, an underlying infection in the gum or an abscess, bite alignment problems, grinding or clenching of teeth, smoking and diabetes.
An extraction is necessary when gum disease has damaged a tooth so badly that there is no other way to prevent the infection from spreading and damaging nearby teeth and bones and causing more loss of teeth.
Treatment of the gum disease must be addressed first. Then appropriate methods can be considered. These can include:
(1) bite adjustment by minor reshaping of the surfaces of the teeth so that they receive less force,
(2) splinting by joining teeth together like pickets in a fence so that any biting force is distributed among groups of teeth rather than just the loosened tooth,
(3) removable guards that can be used during times of tension and stress as well as clenching and grinding of teeth and protect your teeth and muscles, or
(4) orthodontic treatment if you need a bridge or an implant to fill the gap if the tooth is extracted.
Remember that cosmetic dentists and family dentists are available to give you a detailed assessment and correct diagnosis, advise you on what stage your loose tooth has reached, and what options are available. It is recommended that you make an appointment immediately.