Loosening and moving teeth

Have you noticed any movement or loosening of your teeth?

Moving and loosening of the teeth are the signs that most often appear in the last phase of periodontitis. Due to the presence of tartar and constant inflammation of the gums, the inflammation spreads to the bone around the tooth and leads to its decay. When the support of the tooth in the bone disappears, the tooth loosens or moves.

If you have noticed these phenomena in a short period of time (the tooth has turned or tilted to one side), be sure to contact us, because it is most likely the progression of periodontitis. Our team of specialists will find and explain the cause of such changes. We will give you suggestions for therapy and maintenance of the achieved results.

Why do teeth move?

Tooth movement does not have to be just a sign of periodontitis. It is relatively common for teeth to change position due to inadequate biting and transmission of chewing pressure to the teeth. Due to the load from the lower teeth, the front upper teeth move forward and gaps are made between them. The role of the lower teeth can often be taken over by the tongue and its pressure causes the teeth to move forward. The clinical picture is the same as with the pressure caused by the lower teeth.

In contrast, the movement of the teeth inwards is induced by strong muscles of the cheeks and lips. It is necessary to have a balance between the muscles of the cheeks and lips on one side and the tongue on the other side of the teeth. In that case, the teeth take a stable and neutral position between the mentioned muscles, so there will be no change in their position.

One of the reasons for moving teeth is that the lower jaw grows throughout life. Although very small, it can sometimes be significant because as the lower jaw grows, the lower front teeth push the upper teeth forward. It happens that the upper teeth move forward, which is followed by the appearance of gaps between the teeth, or that the lower teeth move backwards, which leads to their overlap.

These changes not only cause the teeth to move, but also the deformities of the jaw bones, and often affect the overall appearance of the face and profile.

Of course, the movement of the tooth will always be more intense if the tooth has weaker support in the bone (due to inflammation, bone retraction, etc.).

Any bad habit, biting pencils and the like can cause the teeth to move and even loosen.

Bruxism, i.e. conscious or unconscious gnashing, often causes moving and rarely loosening of the teeth. Due to bruxism, the teeth become worn and short, and the organism reacts by moving the bones and teeth to compensate for that.

It has long been believed that the growth of wisdom teeth causes the other teeth to move and consequently overlap. However, it was noticed that the movement of the teeth did not stop after the extraction of the wisdom teeth, and such hypotheses were rejected by most orthodontists. Today, wisdom teeth are rarely removed for orthodontic reasons.

Tooth movement is common after the extraction of individual teeth. Then the adjacent teeth lean into the newly created empty space and the tooth of the opposite jaw tends to “grow” towards the place of the missing tooth.

During orthodontic therapy, tooth movement is a common and desirable phenomenon. The teeth move with controlled forces and in a controlled direction. However, they are not in their most stable position then. Therefore, after completing orthodontic therapy, they tend to return to their original position. In order to prevent that, it is necessary to install a retainer.

Retainers are the best way to keep your teeth in the desired position. They come in different forms and what they have in common is that they are used for a long time – in adults for life.

Why does tooth loosening happen?

Tooth loosening is most often a sign of periodontitis. Inflammatory changes lead to the deterioration of the bones and soft tissue that hold the tooth in the jaw. The tooth loses support and begins to loosen. Unfortunately, this is also the first sign that patients notice, and in fact it is the last stage of periodontitis with very limited treatment options.

Loosening of the teeth can occur due to numerous traumas. These don’t have to be major traumas like blows or accidents. Trauma is when the tooth is in its incorrect position and as such suffers an excessive load during chewing. These are the so-called “small” trauma but very dangerous. They go unnoticed for a long time until, due to the increased pressure, the surrounding tissue decays when the teeth loosen.

After root canal surgery and removal of infections as a complication, excessive shortening and consequent loosening of the teeth can occur.

Natural tooth loosening is a natural phenomenon when changing teeth, i.e. replacing milk teeth with permanent teeth. Also, with orthodontic therapy, tooth loosening normally occurs because the tooth moves out of its socket and it takes some time for it to harden.

How are moving and loosening teeth treated?

It is important to understand that moving and loosening your teeth are problems that will not go away on their own and will probably get worse over time. Every movement and loosening of the teeth that you have noticed is significant and you need to react as soon as possible because the correction of small changes is always faster and easier.

The movement and loosening of the teeth are treated depending on the cause of the occurrence and it is obligatory to first eliminate the cause and then continue the treatment.

Tooth displacement is most often remedied by orthodontics, with the help of mobile dentures in children or fixed appliances in adults. In adults, there are already fixed devices that are not visible and guarantee complete discretion during therapy.

Tooth loosening is most often taken care of as part of periodontal therapy. The treatment of periodontitis is not easy and simple, just as its occurrence is not simple. It begins by removing tartar and treating the space between the teeth and the gums (called the periodontal pocket). After that, the patient is trained on the adequate way of maintaining oral hygiene, which includes the use of appropriate brushes and the use of mouthwash. Depending on the condition of the periodontal tissue (bones and gums around the teeth), the treatment process can be repeated or some other procedures may be included (gum surgery, curettage, i.e. deep pocket cleaning or some other procedure). After the treatment, it is necessary to come for regular check-ups in order to monitor the condition. Tooth loosening, depending on the degree of loosening, is best taken care of by splinting with different splints or ceramic bridges.

If the loosening of the teeth is a consequence of trauma, there are various care protocols, from splinting to occlusal balancing (achieving an adequate bite and elimination of traumatic contacts of the upper and lower teeth during chewing).