Dentist showing an x-ray of shifting teeth to female patient at dental clinic

Everything You Need To Know About Teeth Shifting

January 25, 2023

You may not know it, but your teeth continually shift throughout your life. Even if you have had braces or other dental work, your teeth will move over time, which is normal.

Most people don’t think much about how the shifting of their teeth affects their bite or oral health. While a certain amount of movement is expected, minimizing the risk of developing more severe issues is possible.

We will discuss the causes, prevention, and treatments available to mitigate the risk of developing dental problems from shifting teeth to ensure your oral health stays in excellent shape.

Teeth Shifting: Why does it happen?

Regardless of age, your jaw changes, and your teeth continue to shift.

1. Your Jaw Grows Continually

Throughout your life, your lower jaw will continue to grow forward. Because of this slow, gradual forward growth, your lower front teeth will bump into your upper front teeth from behind.

2. The Lower Jaw Shrinks Over Time

Who knew? The lower jaw gets smaller in width as you age, especially the lower canines. As a result, your lower front teeth become more crowded also.

3. Grinding Your Teeth and Tooth Wear

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, causes significant damage, excessive tooth wear, and possibly damages the tissue surrounding your teeth. It can result in bite changes, shorter teeth, and even facial changes in severe cases.

4. Tooth Loss and Dental Procedures

Whenever you lose a tooth, the tooth next to or opposite it will shift into the open space. For example, if your upper first molar is removed or falls out, the lower first molar may move upwards into play, and the upper second molar may begin shifting forward. Replacing missing teeth is not just an aesthetic issue; it can also increase the risk of developing long-term oral health issues.

5. Bone Loss and Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is indicated by inflammation or infection of the tissues that surround the teeth, especially gum and bone tissue. Generally, the teeth will shift in response and cause gaps to form between the teeth.

6. Aging

Our body changes as we age, and our teeth and jaw bones are no different. Generally, the lips tighten, increasing the pressure on the teeth from the outside. As a result, the teeth become more crowded. Another feature is the lip-tightening effects of your smile, which is why less of your front teeth and more of your lower teeth show when you smile as you age.

7. Orthodontic Treatments

The primary purpose of orthodontic treatments is to improve teeth and jaw bone placement. Treatments such as Invisalign or braces will cause the teeth to move; however, once the treatment is complete, the teeth may shift slightly. It is common for teeth to continue to move even after dental procedures; this is why wearing a retainer is so important.

Can You Stop Your Teeth From Shifting?

There is an average amount of teeth shifting that is unpreventable. The best way to mitigate the risks of shifting teeth is to be proactive and have regular dental checkups.

1. Get Treatment For Bite Problems or Chronic Grinding

Repetitively grinding your teeth causes extensive damage to your teeth and jawbone. Even though there isn’t a cure, using a night guard will help prevent tooth wear and minimize the risk of damage and help protect your teeth.

2. Good Oral Health

Regular dental visits and cleanings help to maintain good oral health and minimize the risk of developing periodontal disease and tooth loss. Learning proper brushing techniques, regular daily flossing, and avoiding bad habits such as biting your nails, smoking, and grinding your teeth can help minimize your teeth shifting.

3. Orthodontic Treatment

Treatments vary depending on the severity of your condition, and options range from traditional braces to Invisalign. Without treatments, most situations will worsen, so consulting with your dentist early in life is best.

4. Removable Retainers

Wearing a retainer is one of the best ways to prevent your teeth from shifting. Retainers come in various designs and forms and must be worn for life. This can feel unrealistic or annoying, but the payoff has a beautiful smile for life!

6. Dental Restorations

Crowns, implants, and other dental restorations can help minimize the risk of your teeth shifting. If you have a missing tooth, it is crucial to fill the space with the proper type of impSchedule an appointment with a dentist with experience and skill for the best results to ensure it is done correctly.

For Experience You Can Trust, Book An Appointment With Carrie Muzny DDS

At Carrie Muzny DDS, located in the Woodlands, our team of experts offers various services, from preventative dentistry for the whole family, to restorative and cosmetic procedures, surgeries, and professional teeth whitening.

Our highly trained dentists are exceptionally trained in modern techniques and are compassionate ensuring that you receive the best care. Contact us today to book an appointment or consultation.

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