Science Questions

Why don't teeth fall out immediately?

Sun, 13th Mar 2011

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Question

@nshq asked:

From my daughter, why do wobbly teeth wobble but not fall out immediately?

Answer

Chris -   I have to thank my friend Steve Jones who’s a dentist at Broomfield Hospital in Essex who I phoned up about this one, just to make sure I had the appropriate knowledge.  He tells me that the reason teeth get wobbly when they're your deciduous teeth, your first teeth – is because the secondary dentition, the adult teeth grow in from underneath and the growth of the adult tooth erodes the root of the juvenile deciduous dentition, and that releases the tooth from the interface with the bone, making it obviously less tightly bonded in the first place. 

Plus, part of that loss means that you don't have an interface between the gum or what's called the periodontal ligament, and the connective tissue of the jaw.  The teeth are connected via these tough fibrous strands, the periodontal ligaments,  to the surrounding jaw tissue.  As that becomes eroded away, then you've got less and less connections holding the tooth in place, so it becomes wobblier and wobblier.  I said to him, “Should you do the thread around the tooth, slamming the door trick?”  He said, “No, probably not.  Probably better to just let it fall out naturally.”  So there you go.

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