One of your back teeth feels as if it might be loose and you’re not sure why.
One of your back teeth feels as if it might be loose and you’re not sure why. Something doesn’t feel right. You panic a little, but it always seems to go away, so you don’t do anything about it.
One particular tooth just doesn’t feel right. It feels like it might be loose or something. You look in the mirror and nothing looks wrong. These kind of sensations can sometimes be a warning sign that something serious is wrong. Let’s take a look at the causes for this kind of thing and what action can be taken.
What is this sensation?
The periodontal membrane around your teeth is always evaluating substances you chew to check how hard or soft they are, or how likely they are to stick to your teeth. When this membrane is damaged in some way, the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is increased in an effort to make repairs. This causes the membrane to enlarge and give the sensation of a loose tooth.
Causes and treatment
So what kind of things damage the periodontal membrane and cause this problem? Let’s explore the possible causes of this kind of problem and what can be done when they occur.
1.Infection at the tip of the dental root can make the tooth feel loose
As tooth decay progresses, pus can accumulate at the tips of the roots in the jaw area, and the gum and the periodontal membrane tries to push away the tooth that is causing the problem. This can make it feel as if the tooth is loose. Once we extract the pus and remove the bacteria the sensation usually subsides.
When that sensation of having a loose tooth occurs for this reason, the gums may become swollen and quite painful. You should see a dentist as soon as possible to have the dental root treated and the pus removed.
Approach: Root Canal Treatment
To carry out treatment on the dental roots, first all crowns and fillings need to be removed, then the pus is drawn out through the root. This allows the pain and inflammation to subside. The root area is thoroughly cleaned. Once this is done, the fillings and/or crowns are replaced and the process is complete.
2. Gum disease can make the tooth feel loose
Gum disease is a bacterial infection. If you don’t brush your teeth properly for a while, this bacteria can cause inflammation between the gums and the teeth. This in turn can cause the gums to become swollen, creating that sensation of looseness of the teeth. Particularly when you are fatigued and your body’s resistance is low, the effect is magnified and sensation of having a loose tooth feels even more pronounced.
Approach: Removal Of Tartar
When tartar accumulates on our teeth bacteria invades that tartar and then emits harmful substances, making it hard to treat gum disease effectively. Treatment for the gum disease will also be necessary but to ensure that bacteria doesn’t just keep growing, all the accumulated tartar and plaque must be carefully and completely removed.
Specialized dental implements are used for this process but when the tartar or plaque is particularly stubborn, ultrasonic equipment may also be used. Once the tartar has been removed, the symptoms become less severe and the swelling of the gums begins to subside.
3. Grinding or clenching of your teeth can lead to the sensation of loose teeth
Grinding mainly tends to happen while we’re asleep. This unconscious action results in the teeth being pushed back and forth quite aggressively. The periodontal membrane around the tooth root is also subject to this aggressive action, causing a feeling that it’s actually being tugged at, and this can also lead to the a sensation of having loose teeth.
Clenching of the teeth has a similar effect. But clenching can occur not only while we’re asleep but during our waking hours too. When we concentrate on something, like looking at our computer screens, watching television or reading a book, it’s not at all uncommon for people to unconsciously clench up. This exerts a lot of pressure on the teeth, which is transferred to the periodontal membrane, thereby triggering the sensation of loose teeth.
Approach: Using a Mouthpiece
For clenching of the teeth while you’re awake, quite often improvement can be achieved just by being aware and making an effort to ask yourself whether you’re doing it. Writing yourself some notes saying something like “Are you clenching?” and sticking them in places where you’ll see them can keep you aware of whether you’re doing it.
But just being aware and making an effort isn’t going to be enough to stop the grinding and clenching of your teeth while you’re asleep. If you get a personalized mouthpiece made for you at a dental clinic, the clenching or grinding that you may be doing unconsciously will no longer exert strong pressure on your teeth.
Some mouthpieces are covered by insurance and some aren’t. For those which are covered, they can be made for around 5000 yen, excluding consultation fees and the cost of taking the initial mould. Fitting a mouthpiece tackles not only the problem of grinding, but also protects teeth against being worn down, and protects against potential damage to to fillings or ceramic crowns. If you think a mouthpiece might be the right choice for you, you should set up a consultation at your dental clinic.
4.Stress and fatigue can lead to that sensation of having a loose tooth
When we are stressed or fatigued our blood circulation and the circulation of lymphatic fluid can be compromised. Stiff shoulders or headaches, feeling lethargic are all often caused by poor blood circulation or poor lymphatic circulation. This poor circulation also impacts the amount of blood or lymphatic fluid reaching the periodontal membrane, which can also lead to the sensation of having a loose tooth.
Approach: Stress Relief and Massage
Stress and fatigue are not really within the ambit of the medical care provided at dental clinics. The issue is really one of making efforts to lead a lifestyle that doesn’t lead to chronic fatigue and addressing stressful factors in our lifestyles.
If you get the sensation of having a loose tooth, a gentle massage of the gum area with a toothbrush can sometimes be helpful. This action stimulates the blood flow in the affected area and should provide some relief from the feeling that a tooth is loose. You should be careful, however, not to be too aggressive as the gum itself can be damaged in this process. You should use a brush specifically designed for this purpose or a brush with soft bristles, avoid pushing too hard and only massage for short periods.
5. Too much chewing or biting of hard substances can lead to the sensation of having a loose tooth
Eating substances which are hard or tough, or continued chewing for long periods of time can also trigger the sensation of having a loose tooth. This happens because the constant pressure applied to the teeth means that the periodontal membrane doesn’t get a chance to relax and suffers damage as a result.
Approach: Give your teeth and jaws a break
When the periodontal membrane suffers damage, the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid to the area increases in order to repair the membrane. Accordingly, the thickness of the membrane also temporarily increases, causing a sensation of the tooth being slightly separated from the gum. If you’ve been eating a hard substance and feeling you’ve been using your teeth and jaws too much, you should stop eating and take a break.
Also, if you’re chewing gum for extended periods, you might get that same sensation of separation between your teeth and gums. There are specific types of chewing gum which have been certified as beneficial to dental health, but even these should not be used for extended periods of time.
To Sum Up
The inside of your mouth is a reflection of your overall physical and mental health. Fatigue and stress can cause swelling of the gums which may trigger the sensation having a loose tooth, or cause the gums to bleed easily. So this is something we should be aware of and keep an eye on.
The same goes for other triggers of the loose tooth phenomenon. Overall health problems, as well as dental irregularities, and bad habits can trigger the phenomenon in a variety of ways. So it’s important to thoroughly investigate what it is that’s causing the issue.
If this sensation of having a loose tooth goes on too long, please see your dentist. In this way, cases where treatment should be carried out sooner rather than later (like gum disease or cavities) can be discovered. Also cases where behavioral changes are needed (like grinding or clenching of teeth) can be identified. In both cases, treatment which is covered by insurance is available. So for a healthy mouth and body please don’t hesitate to arrange a consultation with your dentist.