Why are My Teeth Shifting?

by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Jan 6, 2020 3:45:00 PM

So you noticed your teeth have shifted. Ugh. We get it, no one likes putting up with shift but alas we have to. As we get older, things change. Our teeth are not immune to these changes either. 

Regardless if you’ve had orthodontic treatment in the past, unless you nabbed a fixed retainer, as soon as you stop wearing your retainer your teeth are capable of moving again. 

You might be wondering why your teeth are shifting so let’s get into it.

Why do our teeth shift with age?

The way the body is structured, our teeth live in something called “living tissue”. This means they are never static, the bones and ligaments are always moving back and forth. As we get older, our teeth have a tendency, especially on the bottom jaw, to scoot closer to the front of the mouth which can cause overlapping and crowding. 

Now this isn’t only an appearance problem — it can be functional problem as well. When your teeth aren’t in alignment, it can make speaking, eating and even breathing more difficult. Not to mention it gives plaque and bacteria more nooks and crannies to hide in. 


But what causes this slow drift to the front of the mouth? One of the reasons our teeth seem to shift as we get older is all of the structures that hold them in place — think the tissue, ligaments and muscles — all become a little bit weaker as we age. Even our jaw bone, like many of the other bones in our body loses density as we make more trips around the sun. 

The ligaments that acts like an anchor between our teeth and jawbone weakens too. These ligaments are called the periodontal ligaments are made up of connective tissue and fibres that help the teeth weather the pressure and force exerted when we chew. 

Another factor that weakens as we age is our gums. It’s a known fact that as your get older your gums recede. Bad habits we have when we’re younger like brushing too hard or poor oral care can make gum recession worse. 

The last factor we’re going to mention is just general wear and tear. Our teeth have contact points that exist between them, years of pressing and scraping against each other can create space for other teeth to migrate into. Teeth are highly receptive to any force so habits like grinding your teeth or even biting your nails can shift your teeth too. 


So what can you do to correct this?

Back in the day, most likely you’d have to get braces. And yes, we mean metal braces. But now? There are so many more options available for orthodontic treatment. 

Some treatment options include: 

  • Metal braces (if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it you know?) 
  • Clear braces or ceramic braces 
  • Lingual braces or Damon braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Clear aligners or Invisalign

Now, depending on a variety of factors like appearance, treatment time and of course, your individual case will help determine which of the treatment options will be the best fix for you. 

The first step to correcting the shifting is to consult an orthodontist. An orthodontist is the only person who is qualified to align your teeth and bite. In your first consultation, they will assess your smile and teeth then they will consider factors like budget, lifestyle, appearance and severity when helping you choose the best treatment option. 

Shift happens, but you don’t have to live with it. Booking a consult is the first step to getting back your straight smile.



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