man with loose tooth

QUESTION: I just turned 16 and one of my adult teeth is loose. It is the second to the last one on the bottom right side. Will I grow a new one? Is there any way I can keep this one from coming out? It started hurting about two days ago, but before that, I never felt anything.

ANSWER: There are different reasons why you may have a loose tooth, but don’t worry. There are also treatments that can ensure you don’t lose it. You could have the loose tooth in the first place due to

  • An injury (if you play sports, you might have been hit in the face or jaw),
  • Tooth grinding (it may happen at night, so you may not even know you are doing it), or
  • Gum disease.

If you haven’t suffered from an injury, then you will need to see a dentist to determine why your tooth is loose. Additionally, the dentist will be able to determine how the tooth can be treated so that you don’t lose it. Some of those treatment options may include:

  • Tooth splinting. This is a simple treatment in which your loose tooth can be bonded to other, stable teeth, until it tightens up.
  • An occlusal guard or mouth guard. This can help protect your teeth if you are grinding them. You may only need to wear it at night, but it will allow your tooth to tighten up on its own in these cases.
  • If you have gum disease, then you will likely need a deep cleaning. Since gum disease creates pockets of bacteria and infection between the tooth and gum itself, this can lead to loose teeth. By cleaning the gums and removing these pockets, your gums will become healthier and they will tighten up on the teeth again.

So, don’t get too worried just yet. Just because your adult tooth is loose doesn’t mean you will lose it. You just need to go see a dentist as soon as possible. Most likely, there is a simple reason why your tooth is loose, and treatments are available to manage the problem. Oh, and to answer your other question, the idea of a second set of adult teeth is extremely rare. You will not get another tooth where your adult tooth is loose. It already has permanent roots and that means it is meant to stay there.