At Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts, many patients ask us, “Why are my teeth shifting?” The answer is that it’s natural for teeth to shift over time. Even if you’ve had orthodontic treatment, your teeth will shift unless you continue to wear a retainer indefinitely.
Teeth can shift for many reasons. Patients who grind their teeth put additional pressure on their teeth and may wear down enamel, all of which impacts how your teeth move. Another reason teeth may move is a patient loses a tooth and that tooth isn’t replaced. This occurs because teeth naturally want to shift to close any gap between them.
If neither of those situations fits your case, your teeth are most likely undergoing the natural shift we all experience with age. Our teeth shift because our jaw bones and ligaments are designed to compensate for the forces, such as chewing, placed on our teeth. This results in a gradual shift forward, which is called mesial drift. As a result of the gradual shift forward, teeth in the front of a patient’s mouth may shift to the point that they overlap from overcrowding.
Once you notice your teeth are shifting, it’s important to watch them. Minor shifting is not a problem and is to be expected. However, if a patient’s teeth shift to the point where they are overlapping, the patient may find that his/her teeth become harder to clean. Hard to clean teeth puts a patient at an increased risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
There’s no magic way to regain your perfect smile once teeth have shifted. Your dentist may recommend traditional braces, Invisalign, or veneers to fix your teeth and minimize the damage done by shifting teeth.
If you are concerned about your teeth shifting, call Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts to schedule an appointment with Dr. Makrauer or Dr. Miller. We will be happy to take a look at your teeth to help you find the right teeth straightening option for your situation.