Loose Teeth in Adults: Do I Need an Emergency Dentist?

Once your adult teeth grow in, you’re playing for keeps. If you lose them, they won’t grow back. So a loose adult tooth is always a concern. Fortunately, a loose tooth doesn’t always mean a lost tooth. There are a number of causes your emergency dentist can address.

Common Causes & Treatments for Loose Adult Teeth

If you have a loose adult tooth, book an appointment with your dentist. They can identify the potential cause and determine the appropriate treatment. Here are some of the common causes of loose teeth in adults:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Grinding and/or Clenching Teeth
  • Injury

Gum Disease

One of the most common causes of loose teeth in adults is gum disease. Gum disease, also called periodontitis, causes bones and tissue that support the teeth to break down. This results in loose or lost teeth.

If caught early, your dentist is able to prevent gum disease from becoming a serious problem. This is why your regular dental cleanings and exams are so important.

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque that creates infected gaps between teeth and supportive tissue. It is extremely common, with the CDC reporting gum disease in 65% of the population over 30.


Treating Loose Teeth Caused by Gum Disease

Good dental hygiene habits like daily flossing and twice daily brushing are effective in preventing disease. But they aren’t enough to fight it. If your loose tooth is a result of periodontitis your cosmetic dentist can recommend or offer one of the appropriate treatments:

  • Medicated Mouth Rinses
  • Scaling & Root Planting
  • Surgery/Bone Grafts

Medicated Mouth Rinses

Medicated mouth rinses are the least invasive treatment for loose teeth caused by gum disease. It’s easy and low cost, but may not be an option if you wait too long to visit an emergency dentist. Rinses fight mouth bacteria and help to heal the infected gums.

Scaling & Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning, non-surgical procedure performed by hygienists. It can effectively reverse periodontitis but often requires multiple visits. A traditional full mouth treatment may take four treatments with two weeks between them. Use of ultrasonic instruments can speed up the procedure.

You may be familiar with scalers as the metal tool hygienists use to scrape away plaque during dental cleanings. Once the scaling is complete the exposed roots are planed (smoothed) to remove infected dentine. An antiseptic such as chlorhexidine may be prescribed for use after treatment.

Surgery/Bone Graft

If gum disease progresses too far, surgery may be the only option. In this case, the dentist will need to surgically remove damaged bone and inflamed gum tissue. They may need to use bone grafts to rebuild the bone structure.


During pregnancy, teeth can sometimes feel loose. This is the result of a change in your body’s hormone balance. While this issue usually resolves itself after pregnancy it is still worth visiting your dentist to make sure the cause is not gum disease.

Dental checkups and cleanings are safe during pregnancy. Gum disease, however, has potential risk for the baby. Scientists believe that periodontitis may be a contributing factor in premature births.

Grinding and/or Clenching Teeth

Grinding or clenching teeth are habits that can permanently damage your teeth. Often this goes unnoticed, especially if you grind in your sleep. Potential symptoms are loose teeth, jaw pain and headaches. Regular cleanings give dentists a chance to recognize the problem before the damage becomes severe.

Treating Loose Teeth Caused by Grinding or Clenching

If your dentist recognizes signs of grinding or clenching teeth they will likely take preventative measures. A retainer or nightguard offers protection against grinding. You may need to wear it while you sleep. If the teeth are already damaged, you will need a cosmetic dentist.


Injuries from sports, accidents, or falls can result in a loose tooth. Even if you’re pretty sure injury is the cause, you should visit an emergency dentist. They can identify the extent of the damage and what you can do to avoid losing the tooth. As well, they can identify other causes like gum disease or osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can result in even minor injuries doing serious damage to bone. It’s important to get a diagnosis as early as possible so you can start treating it. In addition to dental injuries, it can lead to easily broken leg or hip bones.

If you’re already being treated for osteoporosis, be aware of what medications you are using. Some medications, like bisphosphonates, can lead to loose teeth as well. This is pretty rare in pill form, but is a potential risk with IV.

Treating Loose Teeth Caused by Injury

Your dentist can determine the severity of the damage. In an otherwise healthy mouth, a slightly loose tooth usually heals itself within a few days. Just stick to soft foods and avoid touching it. A very loose, or even lost, tooth can still be saved with a timely dental visit.

Your dentist can also mould a custom-fit mouthguard. This is a great preventative tool for anyone who plays contact sports.

What if the Tooth is not Salvageable?

Not every tooth is possible to save. Fortunately, there are cosmetic dental treatments to replace a lost tooth. Two popular options are dental implants and bridges.

Find a Toronto Dentist for Lost or Loose Teeth

Located in Yorkville, Dr. Judy Sturm and Associates are multi-year winners of NOW’s Best Dentist in Toronto award. If you have a lost or loose tooth contact us immediately to book an emergency appointment.

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Toronto Downtown Dentists | Cosmetic Dentistry Toronto | Emergency Dentist Toronto | Toronto Dentist
Dr. Judy Sturm Dentistry Professional Corporation
77 Bloor St West, Suite 1202
Toronto, ON, M5S 1M2
(416) 967-4212

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