Loose Adult Tooth — What’s Going On?

When a young child has a wiggly tooth, it’s both an exciting and adorable experience. This is because for children, losing a tooth is good news. It’s a sign that they are maturing healthily, or “growing up” – and if they are lucky, they might get a visit from the tooth fairy, too!

(When should your little one have their first dentist appointment? Learn more!)

The story changes for adults. Losing a tooth isn’t cute, it isn’t a sign of health, and it sure doesn’t come with a visit from the tooth fairy! So…what does a loose tooth as an adult mean, and what can be done to prevent or fix the problem? Let’s discuss.

Why Do I Have a Loose Adult Tooth?

When an adult tooth loosens, it is a direct sign that something is wrong with the ligaments that attach to the teeth inside the socket. It may also be a sign that some damage has been done to the gums or jaw bone.

How Did I Get Ligament Damage?

Ligament damage can be caused by one of two things: biting or disease. If you are biting with excessive force, or grinding at night, your teeth may be exposed to excessive force that they can no longer withstand, resulting in ligament damage.

Another cause of ligament damage is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease results in severe bone loss around a tooth. When this happens, and your teeth are faced with withstanding any amount of bite force, the ligaments may not be able to hold up their duties due to the excessive bone loss. This results in a loose tooth, and is the most common cause of loose teeth.


The treatment plan for a loose adult tooth is different depending on the severity of the problem and the cause.

If the cause is periodontal disease, a dentist will prescribe a treatment plan to combat the disease, which will eventually result in the ligament’s healing.

If the cause is excessive force, the dentist will need to determine where the force is coming from. Is the patient grinding or clenching at night? Are their teeth shaped properly? How are the teeth aligning? Once the source of force has been determined, a treatment plan can be created. It is common for dentists to recommend anything from a mouth guard to splinting.

Make an Appointment!

The most important thing you can do if you are an adult with a loose tooth is to make an appointment with your dentist immediately. Loose teeth are a problem that can get worse very quickly. Contact Barganier and Lecroy DMD today to schedule an appointment for an assessment and diagnosis!