For children, a loose tooth is an exciting time that promises a visit from the Tooth Fairy and a special treat tucked under their pillow at night. For adults, a loose tooth is an entirely different story and could indicate serious dental problems. Loose adult teeth don’t always fall out; in fact, in some cases they tighten back up on their own, especially if they’re only slightly loose. However, if you’re suffering from gum disease or the tooth has been broken or injured, you might need to have it replaced using the following methods.
Sometimes a loose tooth can temporarily be secured until the tooth can right itself. Your dentist will bond a small, flexible splint to your tooth using dental cement. This secures the loose tooth to the adjacent teeth so that it remains stable while the area heals. In many cases, the tooth will tighten up during this process and no additional treatment will be required. You’ll likely wear the splint for about two weeks.
Loose teeth are sometimes caused when people grind their teeth when they sleep. In this case, the dentist fits the patient with a mouth guard that protects against grinding and the resulting damage during sleep. Without additional stress on your teeth, any loose teeth may heal and become secure again.
If the tooth can’t be saved, a dental implant offers a permanent solution. Introduced in the 1980s, implants are often a dentist’s first choice for replacing a tooth because they’re sturdy and long-lasting. However, to be a candidate you must have enough bone and soft tissue to secure the implant. Patients with severe dental disease or damage might not be good candidates for implants without having a procedure to restore the bone. Also, the area must heal before your dentist can attach a cap or crown to the implant, a process that can take three months.
Before the introduction of dental implants, dentists frequently used bridges to replace missing teeth. A fixed bridge secures to adjacent teeth and works well even for patients with bone loss. In addition, it’s not a surgical procedure and doesn’t require the lengthy healing time that an implant does. This makes it an option for patients who want to replace loose teeth as quickly as possible.
For patients with multiple loose or missing teeth, permanent or removable partial dentures are an ideal option, especially if the adjacent teeth are healthy. Partial dentures use a metal framework and can be made permanent by being secured to surrounding teeth using dental cement and crowns.
If you have a loose tooth, a cosmetic dentist can help you find the right solution for repairing or replacing it. Contact Las Vegas cosmetic dentist Jeffrey Hadley to book a consultation and start on your way to a beautiful and healthy smile.