Tooth mobility, or looseness, is any vertical or horizontal displacement of a tooth outside its typical physiological limits. Increased tooth mobility can be caused by a number of factors, but periodontal disease is a common culprit. Take a look at why this is a problem and how periodontal treatments can help.
Why is This an Issue?
Mild tooth mobility may be a simple annoyance where a patient is hyper-aware of a loose tooth. However, increased tooth mobility can lead to pain, inefficient chewing ability, speech issues, and even tooth loss. If a tooth is incredibly mobile, then it's easier for periodontal disease-causing bacteria to form pockets between gum tissue and the enamel. This bacterium not only causes increased tooth mobility, but it may cause necrosis (tissue death) of gum tissue, nerves, jawbone, etc.
What Kinds of Treatments Help?
If your tooth mobility is caused by untreated periodontal disease, then your dentist may refer you to a specialist, like a periodontist, for treatment. Treatments that can help tooth mobility include scaling and root planing, gum pocket reductions, laser therapy, and gum grafting.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is the gold standard as a conservative treatment for periodontal disease. During this procedure, your dentist will use instruments to not only clean plaque above the gum line, but below the gumline as well. He or she will smooth out tooth roots to help gum tissue attach around your teeth so that mobility is decreased.
Gum Pocket Reduction Surgery
Sometimes gum tissue is loose after scaling and root planing—especially if a patient has a more severe case of periodontal disease. In that case, your dentist might recommend a gum pocket reduction surgery. During this procedure, our dentist will create a small incision in the gum tissue to access any infection that needs to be debrided. He or she will then reattach the gum tissue around the tooth with sutures.
Laser therapy may be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned procedures or on its own. During this procedure, your dentist will use a specialized laser to destroy bacteria in gum pockets. Laser therapy can be beneficial since it's less invasive than other procedures and can reduce post-op side effects like bleeding and gum swelling.
If your gums have receded and there isn't enough tissue to adequately perform a pocket reduction, then your dentist might recommend grafts. Gum grafts can be taken from donors or from tissue in your soft palate. Your dentist will use these grafts to protect the roots of your teeth and help correct tooth mobility.
One study found that after patients with moderate to severe gum disease underwent periodontal treatments, they were able to see significant decreases in tooth mobility. Tooth mobility was temporarily increased after pocket reduction surgery, but after two years post-treatment, the trend was decreased tooth mobility. Reach out to a dentist in your area today for more details.