What to Do When Your Adult Tooth is Loose but Still Attached

Losing a tooth as an adult can be a scary and painful experience. Unlike children, who can expect their baby teeth to fall out and be replaced by permanent ones, adults have only one set of teeth that are meant to last a lifetime.

Sometimes due to injury, infection, gum disease, or other factors, an adult tooth may become loose but still attached to the gum. This can cause discomfort, bleeding, swelling, and difficulty eating or speaking. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps you can take to deal with it.

See A Dentist As Soon As Possible

A loose tooth is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. The sooner you see a dentist, the higher the chances of saving your tooth and preventing further damage to your oral health. A dentist can examine your mouth, take X-rays, and determine the cause and severity of your condition. Depending on the situation, they may recommend different treatments, such as:

  • Splinting: This involves attaching the loose tooth to the adjacent teeth with a metal or plastic wire or a resin material. This helps to stabilize the tooth and allow it to heal.
  • Scaling and root planing: This is a deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. This helps to reduce inflammation and infection and improves the attachment of the tooth to the bone.
  • Antibiotics: If there is an infection present, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and prevent complications.
  • Extraction: In some cases, the tooth may be too damaged or loose to be saved. In this case, your dentist may have to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant, bridge, or denture.

Avoid Putting Pressure On The Loose Tooth

While you are waiting to see a dentist, you should try to avoid biting or chewing on the loose tooth or the area around it. This can cause more pain and damage and increase the risk of losing the tooth completely.

You should also avoid touching or wiggling the tooth with your tongue or fingers, as this can make it worse. Instead, try to eat soft foods that do not require much chewing, such as yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, or scrambled eggs. You should also avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, or acidic foods that can irritate your gums or damage your enamel.

Keep Your Mouth Clean And Healthy

Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing and treating a loose tooth. You should brush your teeth gently twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss daily to remove any food particles or plaque that may be trapped between your teeth or under your gums.

You can also rinse your mouth with warm salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce inflammation and infection. You should avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes that can dry out your mouth and worsen your condition.

Apply A Cold Compress Or Ice Pack

If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your mouth due to a loose tooth, you can apply a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This can help to numb the pain and reduce the inflammation. You should not apply ice directly to your skin or tooth, as this can cause more damage. Instead, wrap it in a towel or cloth before applying it.

Take Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

If the pain is too severe or interfering with your daily activities, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease the discomfort. However, you should follow the directions on the label and do not exceed the recommended dosage. You should also avoid aspirin, as this can thin your blood and increase bleeding.

Seek Emergency Care If Necessary

In some cases, a loose tooth may be accompanied by signs of a serious infection or injury that requires immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe pain
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Pus or foul-smelling discharge from your mouth
  • Redness or swelling in your face or neck

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.


A loose tooth is not something you should ignore or try to fix on your own. It can have serious consequences for your oral health and overall well-being if left untreated. By following these steps and seeing a dentist as soon as possible, you can increase your chances of saving your tooth and restoring your smile.

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