Why Do Teeth Shift With Age?

Everyone’s teeth continue to shift throughout their lifetime. It’s a natural occurrence regardless of orthodontic work and occurs even when the best oral care is provided.

Why do teeth shift with age? Because our jaws change shape as we age. Additionally, teeth grinding, tooth loss or tooth removal such as wisdom teeth extraction can cause teeth to shift. Gum disease, bone loss, and even the use of a CPAP machine also may cause teeth to move.

Comprehensive holistic dentistry services can monitor and resolve shifting in your teeth that may become worrisome and can help determine the root cause of it. Read further for more detail on the variables involved in teeth shifting, the need to monitor it, and solutions to help remediate it.

Our Jaws Change Shape with Age

Our facial skeleton is generally believed to expand continuously throughout life; however our jaw length decreases and the angle of our lower jawbone drops. Over time, these subtle changes can impact your bite, causing a shift in your teeth.

Regular dental checkups can help monitor changes in your jawline. Regular professional cleanings can help alleviate some of the negative impacts of changes in jaw shape, including possibly slowing the growth of bacteria and tartar buildup in areas of the mouth that become more cramped due to teeth shifting. Your dentist also can help you monitor and prevent gum disease, which becomes more common as we age due to crowding and overlap.

Grinding Can Shift Teeth

Bruxism, or grinding of teeth, causes pressure on your teeth, which can force them out of alignment. You can actually break your teeth through grinding.

Dental Decay Causes Teeth to Shift

Periodontal disease weakens your teeth and their protective surfaces. When the soft gum tissues are infected, it can destroy the bones that support your teeth and cause them to loosen or, worse, fall out. Periodontal disease is preventative. Brush twice a day and floss once a day. Visit your dentist regularly.

Even 1 Missing Tooth Will Cause Shifting

It isn’t uncommon for healthy American adults to be missing teeth. There are millions of Americans missing at least one tooth, whether from wisdom tooth extraction, dental decay, or some form of gum disease (which is also quite common).

As we age, the chance of having a missing tooth increases. Even just one tooth missing can cause shifting since teeth will naturally try to fill in gaps. If nothing replaces the missing tooth or teeth, shifting will occur.

Preventive dentistry, dental implants, laser-assisted gum treatment, complete and partial dentures, and periodontics can all play a role in minimizing tooth shifts.

Why Do Teeth Shift After Braces?

The gingival fibers attached to your teeth help hold gum tissue firmly against your teeth. These fibers have “muscle memory,” and can move teeth to their pre-orthodontics positions.

Additionally, a lot of pressure is placed on our teeth throughout our lifetime and once a brace is removed or an Invisalign treatment (a virtually invisible solution using a series of clear removable aligners) is completed, those forces have a lot more impact on tooth movement. Inevitably, since our mouths change with age, our teeth will shift slightly without constant braces preventing natural shift. This is not practical, however.

Most dentists recommend patients use a retainer post-orthodontic or post-Invisalign treatment. You should schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation to find the best solution to address any post-orthodontic concerns.

What Can You Do About Moving Teeth?

First, proper dental hygiene can help prevent tooth loss. Brushing at least twice daily and flossing daily, along with regular dental examinations can greatly reduce tooth loss which in turn can reduce shifting.

Your smile is important to us. If shifts in your teeth are preventing you from smiling, we want you to let us know! Invisalign® treatments can be done in teen years and later in life. Vivera® clear retainers can help you maintain alignment post-treatment. Contact us to learn more about tooth movement and your optimum oral health.