What You Have to do When Your Teeth Start Shifting

The old adage, “nothing lasts forever” applies to every part of an aging body, especially the smile. Even if you’ve sported superstraight teeth for years, a whole host of factors (some of which are controllable) can make your teeth do a 180 (literally), causing them to shift. While shifting can be prevented to some degree, knowing the root of its cause and how to stop it is key.

Why It Happens
Teeth can shift for a number of reasons—anything from the aging process, which causes changes in the gums, bones and health of the teeth, to grinding can cause the teeth to move. As teeth shift, they begin to slowly move from their current position and rotate forward, backward or sideways. Sarasota, FL, cosmetic dentist Jenifer Back, DDS, says that shifting can start in your 30s and will progress if not properly addressed. “Even if you have had an orthodontic treatment, unless you wear a retainer, you can expect some shifting,” adds Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS

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When You Notice A Change
You probably won’t notice much of a difference in your teeth overnight, but the more your teeth start to move, the more noticeable the differences become. New York cosmetic dentist Irene Grafman, DDS, says that patients tend to notice movement-related changes to their front teeth because those teeth are most visible. At your regular dental checkups, your dentist should always be checking for periodontal pockets and bone loss, which are indicators for potential problems like shifting. However, Dr. Goldstein says if you apply some pressure on your teeth using your finger and you feel some mobility or looseness, you can be pretty sure that your teeth are moving to some degree. 

"The best fixes for shifting teeth include bringing your bite into proper occlusion, repairing decay and making sure that the shifting is not caused by periodontal disease. Orthodontic treatment is another way to treat the teeth," adds New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS.

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