• Loose teeth in adults can have many causes. These include gum disease, gum recession, bruxism, hormonal and metabolic changes associated with pregnancy, and others.
  • To prevent further deterioration, it is important to see a dentist immediately.
  • Non-invasive treatments and surgical procedures can help save a loose tooth. These include flap surgery, bone grafting, soft tissue grafting, bite correction, and splinting.

Are you worried about your loose tooth falling out? Here's everything you need to know.

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Why is my tooth loose?

Limited dental exam

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

While a loose tooth is no more than a right of passage in children, it’s a big cause for concern in adults. Permanent dentition is supposed to last a lifetime. There’s always a reason behind teeth loosening after primary dentition is gone.

Gum disease

A common reason for loose teeth is advanced periodontal disease. It can be caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking, and genetic disposition, among other things. Bacteria buildup eats away at the soft tissues, bone, and ligaments holding the tooth in place. Gum disease can be caused by over 100 different strains of bacteria.

Early symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums and pain in the affected area. The CDC reports that periodontitis affects almost half of American adults aged 30 or above. It can lead to tooth loss but has also been linked to systemic diseases like heart trouble.

Teeth grinding

Otherwise called bruxism, teeth grinding is the unconscious placement of parafunctional forces on dentition. “Parafunctional” means more pressure than normal. It can come about through stress, anxiety, or other medical issues, most commonly sleep apnea.

This usually happens while you are asleep. It can cause headaches and facial pain, as well as stretching of the periodontal ligaments. Those join the teeth to the jawbone. When they are stretched, teeth can become loose.


The most difficult to prevent, injury is also a leading reason for teeth coming loose. Even completely healthy teeth can be damaged by trauma. This is because as you take a hit to your face, surrounding tissue gets harmed.

The group that is most vulnerable to injuries are those who conduct a lot of physical exercise. Playing contact sports such as rugby or boxing puts you in the high-risk group.


Being pregnant raises the levels of hormones called estrogen and progesterone. Those can affect the bones and tissues in the mouth. The periodontium is particularly vulnerable. It includes the bones and ligaments that support the teeth.

Looseness of the teeth during pregnancy can be normal and go away on its own after birth. Nonetheless, if you notice these signs, you should see a dentist. He or she can then rule out other causes such as gum disease.

How to tighten a loose tooth?

The type of treatment your dentist chooses relies mainly on the cause of your tooth or teeth coming loose. Either way, seek help from a 24 hour dentist as soon as possible. A loose tooth caused by trauma is an emergency.

Treating gum disease

Periodontal disease can be treated with scaling and root planing. Ultrasonic equipment is used to remove plaque and tartar buildup. This way the soft tissues can begin healing. Unfortunately, periodontitis has the tendency to come back. The patient has to remain under periodontal maintenance for the rest of their life.

If the case is severe, you may receive antibiotic treatment. Time-release drugs are injected into the gums. They kill off bacteria and infection. You should see a dentist within a few days or weeks to confirm inflammation has gone down.

Richard Hattaway

Richard Hattaway, DDS

Periodontal disease has a more diverse bacteria involvement than tooth decay, and therefore it is much harder to treat.

Bite adjustment

If the looseness is caused by an improper bite, it can be altered. This is when teeth on opposing arches don’t come together naturally. If the patient has a habit of grinding, it makes the problem a lot worse. A small cosmetic procedure such as reshaping enamel can make the teeth fit together better.

Bone grafting

When there is significant bone loss, whether it be due to advanced gum disease or osteoporosis, bone grafting can be performed. This augments the jaw, allowing for more volume of the bone to support the teeth.

The material can be sourced from your body, an animal, a donor, or a cadaver. The dentist makes the decision based on the situation in your mouth and the resources available.

Dental splint

Your dentist might use a splint to save your tooth if it hasn’t detached from the gums. It’s a piece of metal or rigid plastic that joins together two adjacent teeth. The loose tooth gets extra support while it heals. This is usually done on front teeth.


Mouthguards are given to athletes and patients who can’t control their bruxism. It creates a barrier between arches so that teeth don’t rub against each other. You may need additional treatment to help your ligaments heal, as a mouthguard is more of a preventative technique.

How long does a loose tooth take to heal?

Scaling and root planing inflamed gums

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Healing time for a loose tooth depends on the cause of the issue and how long you wait to fix it. When it comes to trauma and bruxism, the looseness wears off around 2 weeks after you address the problem.

If your tooth is wobbly due to disease or infection, it may take up to 5 weeks for the antibiotics to do their job. Scaling and root planing may make your tooth feel even more loose at the beginning. This is because the buildup that is removed during this procedure may have acted as a “bridge”, holding your teeth up.

If your teeth are loose due to pregnancy, you just have to wait until you give birth. The good news is that this doesn’t require treatment. Make sure to target any other oral issues, though, as those can harm you and the baby.



Is loose tooth pain normal?

If your loose tooth hurts or moves upon force, you may have an infection. The cause may be advanced periodontitis, which leads to periodontal ligaments detaching from the tooth. The most common loose tooth remedy is scaling and root planing. It may be followed by a course of antibiotics.

How long does it take for a loose tooth to fall out?

This depends on the cause. Loose baby teeth usually fall out after a few days up to a couple of months. If the problem is caused by gum disease or injury, you should act quickly. You may want to consult with a dentist over the phone if an emergency visit is not possible.

How to get a loose tooth out?

Schedule an appointment with a dentist. Don’t try to pull the tooth out yourself. It may lead to an infection or break off in the socket. What’s more, perhaps the tooth can be saved. If the tooth is ready to come out, the procedure will be relatively painless. You might not even need any anesthetic.

Even baby teeth should not be removed forcefully, unless it’s done by a dentist. Primary dentition has roots that slowly dissolve to make room for permanent teeth. The tooth will almost always come out on its own.

However, it is almost always best to try and save the tooth. Dentition is only removed when it is problematic in an orthodontic sense or if it is infected beyond repair.

Is it bad to leave a loose tooth in your mouth?

Yes. A loose tooth is usually a sign of some bigger problem in your mouth. You should have a dentist inspect your mouth. You could be developing gum disease or have an underlying health problem if you subconsciously grind your teeth.