Our patient Bonnie asked, “Why do adult teeth sometimes feel a little loose?”
When we investigated further it seemed that the loose feeling is its worst in the mornings but gradually tightens up and eventually the sensation disappears completely. She had also noticed that her teeth had been a little more sensitive to cold than usual.
What this sounds like is that some sort of trauma has caused stretching of the tiny rubber bands all around the roots of our teeth, called periodontal ligaments. There are thousands of ligaments lined up like the small springs all around a trampoline. These ligaments are what allow our teeth to bounce in their sockets without breaking. By far the most common trauma that causes this looseness is when we clench our teeth while we sleep at night. Some people sleep with their teeth forced tightly shut for many hours per night, and all that pushing can make their teeth feel a little bit wiggly in the mornings.“Some sort of trauma has caused stretching of the tiny rubber bands all around the roots of our teeth, called periodontal ligaments. There are thousands of ligaments lined up like the small springs all around a trampoline.”
Over time, this trauma can be very detrimental to teeth, causing the gums to recede, making teeth shift and become more crowded, and even breaking teeth off at the gumline. Other symptoms of clenching include a general sensitivity to cold temperature, sore facial and jaw muscles, and the appearance of tiny fracture lines in the tooth surface. Many people think of these fracture lines as natural signs of aging, but they really are more of an indication of damaging habits than anything else.
There are other diseases that also can cause adult teeth to feel loose, but if you suspect that you may be clenching your teeth at night it’s a good idea to make an appointment with us soon. That way we can see if damage has already begun, and then help ease the trauma with a custom-made nighttime cushion that will protect your teeth and muscles from this midnight assault.
Trish moved to The Colony in 1992 after finishing her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene at Texas Woman’s University, and has been helping Dr. Rossen take care of his patients’ smiles since 1999.
The small-town feel here is the best, according to Trish, so be sure to say “hi” when you see her at the sports fields, schools, and at the grocery store. She and her husband are blessed to have two loving kids, a couple of schnauzers, and a thriving dental software company. Also, visit her at DentalBuzz.com, a humor and dental trends website.