Can a Loose Tooth Heal?

People expect baby teeth to fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. But what happens when the tooth that is supposed to be permanent become loose? 

Fortunately, a loose tooth does not mean it will be lost — in many situations, a loose tooth can heal, but it usually does not happen on its own. If any of your teeth feel loose, you need to visit the dentist as soon as possible.

What causes a loose tooth?

Several factors are responsible for a loose tooth, including stress caused by grinding or clenching, gum disease, and trauma caused by sports injuries or accidents.

Gum disease

Many experts consider gum,or periodontal, disease to be the cause of most cases of a loose tooth. When gum disease sets in, bacteria accumulation makes the gum recede to the extent that holding the tooth becomes difficult. Additionally, sometimes the bacteria responsible for gum disease can also damage the roots and the bone.

If gum disease is the case, stabilizing the tooth should follow the treatment of the underlying condition. This usually entails a deep cleaning and procedures to eliminate the plaque or tartar below the gum line, as these are essential before stabilizing the tooth.


Loose teeth caused by injuries, grinding, or clenching can weaken the ligaments connecting the teeth and the bone. In many cases, saving the loose tooth requires strengthening the ligaments, particularly when the gums are healthy. If the loose tooth is a result of an accident, the chances of saving the tooth are higher, but seeking the dentist right away is the only way to ensure that.

In most scenarios, stabilizing the loose tooth may require bonding them to nearby teeth through a technique called splinting. This short-term treatment (which lasts a few weeks or months) helps the gum heal and allows the ligaments to toughen up around the tooth. The splint usually comprises a composite resin and wires to connect the loose tooth or teeth to the nearest healthy tooth. The dentist may also install a small, custom-made plastic splint to fortify the loose tooth.


Intense grinding or jaw clenching (called bruxism) may cause loose teeth. The grinding and clenching puts undue pressure on the teeth and destabilizes the tooth, especially when it has a preexisting condition like decay or infection. Bruxism usually happens during sleep, and the dentist may recommend a night guard after healing and stabilizing the tooth.

The detachable guard lessens the stress on the teeth and shields any dental procedure performed to heal the tooth.

What if the tooth cannot heal?

In some situations, especially when gum disease is present, it may be impossible to heal the loose tooth. In such cases, extracting the tooth is the best alternative. The dentist may restore the lost tooth with a dental implant or bridge.

With the recent innovations in dentistry, there is a high possibility that the dentist will be able to save your permanent tooth. To improve your chances of healing, booking an appointment with a dentist is essential. Only then can they determine the cause and recommend the best treatment plan. Talk to one of our dental health professionals today.

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