What Happens If My Tooth Is Loose?

Written by Dr. DeAngelis

It may be frightening to imagine losing a tooth as an adult, but it’s actually more common than you might think. We’ve all had the experience of losing baby teeth as children. However, our adult teeth have to last us for the rest of our lives. Even if you follow a good oral hygiene routine, there is still a chance that an adult tooth can become loose. Wiggly teeth can be a sign of a more serious dental issue. Because of this, permanent teeth that become loose and then fall out should be considered a dental emergency.

Should I Go to the Emergency Room or the Dentist?

Tooth decay, oral diseases, and poor oral hygiene can all cause your teeth to become loose. The first thing that you should do in this situation is to call your dentist. If you suffered from another physical injury that caused your tooth to become loose, you might be taken to the emergency room. However, regular hospitals likely won’t have the proper equipment to treat a missing or loose tooth.

Only a qualified dentist can determine the cause of your loose tooth and treat it appropriately. Waiting to schedule an emergency dental appointment will only allow the problem to worsen and may result in you losing one or more of your permanent teeth.

What Are the Treatment Options for Loose Teeth?

Dr. DeAngelis uses several different treatments and techniques to save a loose tooth, primarily dependent on the cause of the looseness. During your emergency visit, we’ll review your options and decide which treatment is best for you.

Tooth Splinting

One way to treat a loose tooth is by using tooth splinting. For this treatment option, Dr. DeAngelis will attach a splint or stabilizer to the surface of your loose tooth and then bond it to healthy teeth nearby. The splint will stay on your tooth for at least a few weeks to give your ligaments a chance to recover and strengthen the tooth. Your exact healing time will depend on how severely your tooth is damaged.


Another popular treatment option for loose teeth is a nightguard. Nightguards are best for patients who grind their teeth and are most often worn while you sleep. Grinding your teeth at night can put significant strain on your teeth and gums and may lead to looseness over time. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, consider using a mouth guard to prevent loose teeth and even treat minor looseness over time. Although this treatment is not the most effective for more severe issues, patients with minor symptoms could notice a difference within just a few weeks.

Gum Disease Removal

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It is a serious condition and requires intense treatment to prevent more severe dental issues. The first step of treatment for gum disease is to get a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning involves the removal of infected tissue and bacteria from your teeth, gums, and mouth. Because the treatment can be more uncomfortable than a standard cleaning, your dental hygienist may offer you a topical anesthetic to numb your teeth and gums. You can expect your teeth to look and feel much healthier after 1-2 months.

How Can I Prevent Loose Teeth?

The best way to prevent loose teeth is to follow a good oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice per day and floss regularly to keep your mouth healthy and clean. Scheduling a check-up and cleaning with your dentist twice per year is also recommended to ensure your teeth are strong and prevent gum disease.

Currently, about half of the country’s adults over the age of 30 have gum disease, usually caused by poor dental hygiene habits. Schedule an appointment today if you have any of the following symptoms of gum disease:

  • Gum recession
  • Loose tooth or teeth
  • Tender, red, painful, and/or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth
  • Changes in your teeth’s position or alignment


Our mission is to strive for, attain and deliver the highest level of dental care for our patients. If you’re searching for an emergency dentist in Carlsbad, CA, call us today to schedule a same-day appointment.


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