Looking back at your old photographs, it’s only normal to feel a bit nostalgic. However, there is something that might sound off the alarm bells in your brain – your teeth have moved! And we’re not talking about milk teeth here. Of course, those are taken by the tooth fairies. We’re talking about your permanent teeth. You might’ve noticed your teeth shifting, albeit subtly, over time.
Now, you might be thinking, that’s not normal, right? There’s a reason why your permanent teeth are called permanent, after all. You might’ve assumed them to be immovable. And when you wake up every day and look into the mirror, you don’t see anything drastically different with your teeth. So, what’s happening, and why is it happening. The prospect of shifting teeth is quite alarming if you think about it. Let’s do a deep dive into understanding it.
Is It Normal for Teeth To Shift?
Teeth shifting is something that happens throughout the life of an individual. Your teeth move, but the process is so subtle that you might not even notice it (unless you do a before/after picture). Shifting teeth is something that people normally experience with age.
However, sometimes, it can be a sign of a serious health condition. Tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss can all make your teeth shift. So, in some cases, it is completely normal to notice teeth shift. However, you should keep an eye out for your teeth to see if they aren’t completely going haywire.
It is completely false to assume that someone who has gotten braces won’t experience shifting teeth throughout their life. It happens regardless of it. Moreover, it is a myth that the growth of wisdom teeth affects the alignment of the remaining teeth by crowding them.
While ageing can cause teeth to shift, it also makes your lower jaw grow in the forward direction and decrease in width. So, it can slightly project your front teeth outward, which can make the lower front teeth crooked. Or it can lead to the creation of space between the upper and lower front teeth.
Shifting teeth are not only to blame for these factors, though. The different activities that your teeth perform, such as chewing, eating and talking, can also cause them to shift. Dental trauma can also impact your oral health and make your teeth shift.
What Are the Signs Your Teeth Are Shifting?
There are a few telltale signs of it, which are as follows:
- Gaps – One way you can know that your teeth are shifting is that you might notice the formation of gaps between them.
- Pain & Sensitivity – Another sign of teeth shifting is that they might feel sensitive or painful.
- Changes In Teeth Alignment – Normally, the two front upper and lower teeth fall at the centre of the nose and the face. If this isn’t the case with you, your teeth might be shifting. Those who wear retainers might notice this shift quite easily because their retainers won’t fit them the same way anymore. That is another sign of teeth shifting.
What Causes Teeth To Shift?
As you get older, you’ll notice this phenomenon happening to you. However, it can have other reasons. So, let us take a look at them.
Orthodontic treatment, such as getting braces, can cause your teeth to shift. Sometimes, in order to align the teeth, the dentist might extract your upper and/or lower teeth. This ends up creating empty space, which is then taken up by the shifting of the teeth on the two sides of the gap. In case of tooth loss due to decay, injury or other reasons, you should get implants or bridges to fill the space left by the missing teeth.
Even if no tooth extraction takes place, getting braces alone can make your teeth move from their original position. Once the braces come off, then too, your teeth can move. The loss of jawbone due to oral health problems can also make your teeth moveable once the braces come off. Thus, orthodontic treatment is one reason for it.
Grinding your teeth has a negative impact on your oral care. Bruxism or teeth grinding is something that commonly occurs due to stress or anxiety. The person grinding their teeth might do so unconsciously while awake or asleep. Not only does teeth grinding cause pain and headache from pressure on your teeth, but it can also cause teeth shifting. A night guard is worn for this.
Periodontal disease refers to illness of the gums. It also includes the jawbone. The teeth anchor to the jawbone with the help of the gums. However, as it decays, the support to the teeth decreases. This causes the teeth to shift. Therefore, quickly get treatment for periodontal disease.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is something that patients with sleep apnea benefit from. It helps the person who has sleep apnea breathe more easily. Oxygen is supplied to the body through a mask. One case study found the person receiving this treatment, a 64-year woman, experienced tooth movement as a result of it.
Although it is rare, it can happen. You need to make sure that you’re keeping a check on your teeth if you’re getting CPAP therapy. If your teeth are shifting extensively, you might need some dental work.
As you get older, the collagen production decreases. It is due to collagen that our skin remains elastic. However, the reduced production of collagen leads to lower elasticity. It can cause the shrinking and tightening of certain areas of the face, such as lips, cheeks, and even your tongue. This can also exert pressure on your teeth and make them shift from their original position.
Does Teeth Shifting Hurt?
Teeth shifting isn’t something that happens overnight. It happens gradually, so much so that you don’t even notice any difference in the position of your teeth for quite a while. Therefore, you are unlikely to experience any pain because of it. That is if your teeth are moving naturally and normally, because of ageing.
If the teeth shifting is occurring because of gum disease or any other oral health issue, it can cause you pain. You might end up taking some painkillers to deal with it. But since the root cause of the problem stays in place, painkillers won’t help in the long run. You need to visit a dental professional for a permanent solution to teeth shifting. Teeth shifting may be a symptom of some other health condition. Your dentist will examine your mouth to find out what’s causing it.
How To Stop Teeth from Shifting?
There’s no one solution to teeth shifting. The dental treatment you need for teeth shifting depends on the reason why it’s happening in the first place. For that, you need to go to the dentist. S/he will examine your mouth to provide an accurate assessment. If the reason why your teeth are shifting is teeth grinding, the dentist may perform masseter Botox, or you might need to wear a mouth-guard to protect your teeth.
If a tooth’s missing, the surrounding teeth will move towards the space. So, you need to have your dentist fix this issue for you. Dental implants offer a good solution for tooth loss or decay. They act as roots on which an artificial tooth cap is put on top. This also helps prevent bone loss.
To prevent teeth from shifting from ageing, you can consider wearing retainers. Retainers that are fixed to the teeth can prevent the teeth from being mobile after the braces have come off.
Is It Possible to Prevent Teeth Shifting?
That depends on the reason why you’re experiencing teeth shifting. Some things are simply beyond our control; take ageing, for instance. There’s nothing you can do to stop your jaw from growing or preventing the decrease in the production of collagen. However, what is in your control is your oral health.
Brushing, flossing, and mouth washing can help lessen the teeth shifting effect that you experience over time. These small activities will make a lot of impact on your overall well-being. Your mouth stays clean and protected from the attack of viruses and bacteria. This, in turn, prevents gum diseases which can cause teeth to shift.
What you eat is also important. Moreover, avoid smoking and tobacco products as they too can harm your teeth and worsen your oral health.
So, if you’re experiencing gradual, painless teeth shifting, you have nothing to worry about. However, if teeth shifting is happening because of an oral health condition, you need to get treatment. You can book a free online consultation with Longevita’s expert Patient Consultants and learn more about teeth shifting treatment. Do not postpone the treatment, get in touch with us right now!