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My Smile Fell Out of Line; What Causes Teeth to Shift Over Time?

September 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — ortegaortho @ 10:40 pm
Woman has curious expression

The human body is constantly changing, and everyone’s teeth shift their positions as they age. This can happen intentionally due to orthodontic treatments or accidentally due to aging, illness, or injury. While some of this shifting is unavoidable, it can be managed if you take the proper precautions or with dental treatments. Here are some things that can cause your teeth to shift and what you can do about it.

The Jaw Changes with Age

Over the course of the natural aging process, your jaw and the rest of your facial structure will change, and some of these changes can push your teeth out of position. Over time, these subtle and gradual movements can cause new gaps to form or cause your teeth to become overcrowded. The muscles and ligaments in your face also age, and as the ligaments holding your teeth in place grow weaker, the teeth can become looser. The jawbones move forward throughout your lifetime, and this can eventually cause the lower teeth to push the upper teeth out of alignment. This can result in an altered bite.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common stress response exhibited by many people. Some people do it voluntarily while awake and others do it involuntarily while they sleep. Unfortunately, this bad habit puts a lot of undue stress on the teeth, wearing them down and causing chips or cracks to form while also leading to jaw pain and headaches. If this habit continues for long enough, it can alter the way the top and bottom teeth meet while biting and can even push some teeth out of alignment.

If you are grinding your teeth while awake, being mindful of the habit can help you avoid it and eventually break it. If you are doing it in your sleep, you can wear a mouthguard from your dentist that will absorb much of the force and protect your teeth from injury.

Orthodontic Procedures

Thankfully, modern dentistry has methods that can bring misaligned teeth into better alignment in both adults and children. Traditional metal braces are a tried-and-true method of straightening out a smile, and they can effectively treat even complex cases. On the other hand, Invisalign clear aligners can resolve minor alignment issues without the conspicuous metal wires and dietary restrictions that come with traditional braces. In either case, the patient will have to wear a retainer after treatment in order to prevent their teeth from shifting back out of position.

While some shifting of your teeth is unavoidable, there are things you can do to mitigate its effects. Consulting with your orthodontist will determine if any orthodontic treatments are right for you.

About the Author

Dr. William “Vaughn” Holland earned his dental degree at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, where he was honored with the opportunity to pursue a unique, five-year dual specialty program in both Prosthodontics and Orthodontics. He currently serves as a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the American Association of Orthodontists. His office in Jacksonville, FL offers traditional braces, Invisalign, orthognathic surgery, and orthodontic emergency services. To schedule an appointment, contact the office online or dial (904) 388-4600.

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