Shifting Teeth: Causes and How to Prevent It
Although many people do not realize it, modern dentistry is responsible for much of the quality of life we enjoy today. The numbers show that people spend more than $162 billion on the services of dentists in the United States alone every single year! The dental industry has to employ more than 1.1 million people around the country to provide everyone with the dental care they need. One of the benefits of modern dentistry is that it helps us understand shifting teeth.
This is a somewhat common problem that many people do not realize they need to take steps to avoid. Others are already dealing with shifting teeth and wonder what they can do about it.
The better you understand the causes of and treatments for shifting teeth, the better you can look after your dental health. Read on to learn all about the most important things to understand about shifting teeth, where they come from, and how you can prevent them!
What Are Shifting Teeth?
Most people think of their teeth as something that does not move. They are surprised and dismayed to find out that however good the alignment of their teeth is today, they may lose that alignment in the long run.
However, it is actually a good thing that teeth can shift. The mouth comes with a natural amount of flexibility. In particular, your teeth respond to pressures that last long enough and shift to reduce the amount of pressure on them.
In fact, this is how braces work. Braces apply small amounts of pressure every minute of every day for months on end. This slowly moves your teeth into a new and more desirable position. This is only possible because your mouth has flexibility.
However, that flexibility comes with a downside as well. Your teeth may become subject to new pressures over time. Even if these pressures are small, they can be enough to shift the alignment of your teeth if they persist.
Some people don’t understand where pressure on their teeth could come from. Sometimes, people develop a habit of gritting their teeth more or grinding them in sleep. This can apply new pressures that can slowly start to shift your teeth into a new and probably worse alignment.
In other cases, people develop tight tendons or muscles around their necks. This tightness can then pull on the jaw to sit in a new position. That will then place teeth against each other in a way they are not used to.
The end result can be shifting teeth and a new alignment.
Causes of Teeth Shifting
This may help you understand the theory of how teeth shift, but what are the most common causes of shifting teeth?
In some cases, teeth start to shift as a natural part of the aging process. As your bones and soft tissues start to age, they may not provide the support they used to. This can then shift how and where pressure is applied to your teeth.
Shifting teeth are the purposeful result of skilled orthodontic treatment in the best cases. However, after orthodontic treatment, it is important to use retainers to help your teeth settle into their new alignment.
Some people do not use their retainers, so their teeth start shifting independently. Although teeth are mostly stable in their position, they may be more likely to shift in the immediate aftermath of orthodontic treatment unless they are kept in place by aligners or retainers.
Some people deal with shifting teeth due to an injury of some kind. That means that injuries to other parts of the body may also impact the alignment of your teeth.
Lastly, some people experience shifting teeth because of damage to their oral health. This can come in the form of the disease in the gums or decay in the teeth.
It can also be the result of losing teeth. When you lose a tooth, the other teeth lose pressure and support from one side. They may start to shift toward the gap as a result.
How to Prevent Tooth Misalignment
There are a few ways that you can help prevent your teeth from shifting. If you have received orthodontic treatment in recent months or years, make sure to follow all the directions you receive about using retainers.
It is also important to look after your general oral health to keep your teeth from shifting. That means that the things that keep your teeth from decaying can also help keep them from shifting.
These include brushing your teeth, flossing, and eating a healthy diet with as little sugar as possible. Avoiding tobacco products and smoking is also important because they can degrade your oral health.
Treatments for Misaligned Teeth After Braces
It may be too late to rely on retainers if you wait long enough after orthodontic treatment. You may need to start over and receive orthodontic treatment again. Of course, you will need less treatment than you did the first time in most cases.
Of course, your teeth may also shift in alignment for other reasons. Whatever the case, treating misaligned teeth is exactly what orthodontic experts are all about.
Some people imagine that orthodontic treatment is expensive and a huge inconvenience. However, convenient and affordable Invisalign technology can allow people to straighten their teeth with minimum hassle. They can often finish the process in less than a year.
Understand Teeth Shifting and How to Avoid Them
We hope learning about shifting teeth and how to avoid them has been helpful to you. Many people do not understand what happens when their teeth start to shift. The sooner you take action to prevent further shifting, the easier it will be for you to resolve shifting teeth.
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