Having teeth become loose and wiggly is a common enough experience for children to go through, but adults almost never experience it. While milk teeth are intended to fall out and be replaced, adult teeth aren't, so if your tooth is wiggly, it's a bad sign. Here are three potential causes for one of your teeth becoming loose.
1. Root Damage
Your tooth is a lot more than just the bony part on the outside. Underneath your gums, the root of the tooth helps to transfer nerve impulses, blood, and generally acts as an anchor to keep your tooth where it belongs. However, these roots can become damaged, due to disease, injury, or damage to the tooth.
When your root becomes damaged, the tooth doesn't fit the way it once did. There may be some free space either under your gums or in the jaw where the root once occupied all the space so that the tooth may wiggle from side to side. In these cases, a root canal is often required in order to save the tooth.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease is another common problem that can cause your tooth to wiggle. While gum disease starts out with just inflammation and irritation of the gums, if left alone long enough, it can progress even further.
If the bacteria from your gum disease begins to break down or infects your tooth, it can cause the underlying tissues of your tooth to be damaged or lost. Gum disease and root damage sometimes go hand-in-hand as a result. In some cases, reversing gum disease may be enough to protect the tooth. Once the gums have healed and are properly creating a seal around your tooth, the tooth may stop wiggling.
3. Bone Loss
Finally, if you lose bone density in your jaw, it can cause you to have a loose tooth.
Your jaw bone actually has little slots in it where the teeth go. When everything is healthy, the teeth fit perfectly there, and the jaw supports them. However, if your jaw bone becomes thinner, these slots can become a little larger, resulting in a wiggly or loose tooth.
Bone loss typically is only an issue if you have a medical condition like osteoporosis or have previously lost teeth. The jaw loses bone density following tooth loss, so if you've already lost one or more teeth, your wiggly one could be next without dental help. Wiggly teeth can often be saved and restored if you get to your dental services quickly enough. Don't put off getting help - you could be ignoring a serious problem with your oral health.