While it may seem like your teeth are firmly attached to your jawbone and locked in place, that is only partially true. Teeth shifting naturally happens as you age, and it is also common after orthodontic treatments. However, there are other factors that can contribute to teeth shifting as well. Luckily, there are a variety of different treatments, such as retainers and night guards, that can help stop your teeth from shifting and keep your smile looking its best.
What Causes Teeth Shifting?
To understand teeth shifting, let’s first look at how your teeth connect in your mouth. Your teeth attach to your jawbone by the periodontal ligament and cementum, the outer layer of the tooth. Tightly wrapped connective tissue and collagen make the ligament strong, keeping your teeth in place. However, the ligament is also flexible and can allow for shifting. This flexibility is what makes orthodontic work, such as braces, possible.
Wearing an Essix retainer from SportingSmiles long after braces can help prevent the natural shift of teeth that happens with aging. In addition, a teeth-grinding guard can help reduce the risk of shifting associated with bruxism.
So, we know that orthodontic treatments, such as braces, cause the teeth to shift intentionally. But, that’s not the only thing that can cause your teeth to shift. Some other causes of teeth shifting include:
- Physiologic Mesial Drift – This might sound complicated, but it is essentially the natural tendency of teeth to move, or shift, toward the front of the mouth as you age. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about this, aside from regular dental care and adjustments if needed.
- Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs where bacteria grow within the mouth, damaging the soft tissue and gums. This can cause the gums to recede weaken the connective tissue holding teeth in place.
- Tooth Loss or Gaps – Your teeth maintain their place in your mouth partially because of pressure from the surrounding teeth. When you lose a tooth or have gaps in between teeth, that pressure isn’t there. This allows for teeth to shift.
- Bruxism – Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, causes excessive wear on your teeth and can also damage supporting tissue, causing your teeth to shift over time.
Why Is Wearing a Retainer Important?
After braces, the easiest way to stop your teeth from shifting is to wear your orthodontic retainer. Because the braces have spent time moving your teeth, the ligaments are more prone to bouncing back to their original position, making shifting easy. A retainer keeps your teeth in position while the ligaments gain strength and adjust to this new position. How long you must wear your retainer is up to your orthodontist, but it is important to follow their instructions.
Because a retainer is removable, it is a good idea to have a backup retainer in case of loss or damage. Find out HERE how we can offer a replacement retainer made from a mold at home, without the need for another dentist visit.
If you know you grind your teeth, or your dentist has said you do, a nightguard may be beneficial not only in protecting the surface of your teeth, but also reducing the risk of shifting. Nightguards do not stop you from grinding or clenching your teeth, but they provide a protective barrier for your teeth. Nightguards absorb the force from your grinding and prevent the wearing down of enamel.
At Sporting Smiles, we create custom-fit mouthguards from molds you make in the comfort of your own home. No need for a costly dental visit and custom night guards are much more comfortable and effective than stock night guards you can purchase off a store shelf. To find out more, visit HERE.
Take Care of Your Teeth
Practicing good oral hygiene is important for the overall health of your teeth, as well as reducing the risk of teeth shifting. Regular brushing and flossing help keep the bacteria in check and reduces the risk of periodontal disease. Keeping your gums healthy and strong will help minimize tooth movement. Regular visits to your dentist can help spot early teeth shifting and your dentist can formulate a treatment plan if necessary.