The Loose Tooth Treatment Options Explained

Wondering about the options for loose tooth treatment? This article will give you a general guide to the common treatments for loose adult teeth. Treatment depends on the causes and extent of any mobility. But here are the general options for loose tooth treatment:

  • Gum disease treatment. If periodontal disease is causing the problem, then a course of dental scaling and root-planing may help stop it progressing.
  • Splinting teeth together, gives them extra support. But this is not a long-term solution unless the underlying disease is halted.
  • Extraction and the use of partial dentures, bridges or implants. This is the only option if it is beyond saving.
  • Other options if gum disease is not the cause!

The first thing to say that if you feel a tooth coming loose, get to your dentist. The sooner a problem is detected and treated the better. This is not just for the one affected, but all your teeth. Why? Because if a tooth gradually becomes mobile, the chance are that gum disease is the cause. And if you have gum disease affecting one, the rest are likely to be involved to some extent. So don’t hesitate, get it seen to by a professional.

First step in treatment of a loose tooth… Get to your dentist early!

A loose tooth can be very uncomfortable at best, and at worst can lead to a dangerous abscess. So again, treatment is needed! Deep-set periodontal disease (severe gum disease) is very difficult to treat, so prevention is key.


Gum Diseases and Loose Teeth

Gum diseases are the major cause of loose teeth in adults and of tooth loss. Gum disease, if left unabated, will result in the loss of the surrounding tissues that hold teeth in place. The problem is that it can be ‘silent’ in that you are not aware you have a problem until it is severe. This is one of the most important reasons for regular dental check-ups, even when you think your teeth are fine.

Gum disease prevention is much more important than cure. So look after your teeth by having excellent oral hygiene and don’t smoke. If gum disease is present, it can be treated by the dentist or dental hygienist. The treatment involves several sessions of scaling and root planing to clean the teeth, allowing for gum repair. Regular maintenance appointments are needed afterwards to keep things healthy.

Gum disease treatment video:


Dental Splinting Can Prolong a Loose Tooth

Loose teeth which are affected by gum disease, where the disease has been halted, can be good candidates for the splinting procedure. Splinting is also used when the mouth has experienced trauma, causing a mobile tooth. In splinting, the teeth are joined together using a thin steel wire, thereby increasing their stability. This is a factor which allows them to function normally. This procedure is beneficial because it allows you to save your teeth. Additionally, splinting also reduces the pain that a very mobile tooth can cause.


"image of tooth extracted in forceps"

Tooth extraction is needed for a very loose tooth


Extraction is usually the last resort for a loose tooth treatment, but is often unavoidable. This may happen when other treatment options fail to work, e.g. gum disease progression cannot be halted. If  one is extracted the options to replace it are:

  • A denture, the cheapest option. A denture can be removed from the mouth and is least stable of the options.
  • Bridge, which is fixed onto the adjacent teeth, so it requires these supporting units to be healthy and firm.
  • An implant, is the most expensive but often the best option to treat a lost tooth. This relies on healthy bone structure, which holds the metal ‘screw’ in place
Again, the most important loose tooth treatment is prevention in the first place!


Other treatments if gum disease is not the cause

As explained on the front page, gum conditions are not the only cause of a loose tooth. Here are the other causes and treatments listed:

  • Trauma – If mild, it may be enough just to let the tooth settle into place again. But a severe knock may necessitate a tooth being splinted into place and possibly root treatment later. Extraction is necessary if the tooth is beyond repair.
  • Bite problems, may be as simple as filing down a tooth to as complex as the entire bite needing re-organised with extensive crown work.
  • Grinding. If you are grinding during the day you need to try to spot when you are doing this and cut it out. If doing so at night, you may need to wear a bite-guard.
  • Abscess, if due to a tooth infection will need root treatment. If due to gum disease may need surgical cleaning or extraction.


As always, this is only a general guide. Get to your own dentist for specific advice and treatment.

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