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Did You Know Your Teeth Could Be Shifting?

Teeth can shift over your lifetime….

ThinkstockPhotos-151338885Understanding the implications of this imbalance can motivate our desire to correct the alignment before significant damage occurs. There are several reasons why teeth can shift.

The major contributors to shifting teeth are:

  • Unbalanced Bite: Teeth that collide and progressively push will result in fracture, wear or movement.
  • Cavities: Inappropriately designed fillings or restorations can cause changes to your teeth and your bite that can result in the shifting of teeth. If cavities are not treated, teeth can shift due to the loss of tooth structure.
  • Periodontal Disease: The loss of supporting bone and gums can make teeth loose and more susceptible to movement.
  • Tooth Loss: If a tooth is missing, the adjacent or opposing tooth will shift towards the gap since there is no long a stabilizing contact from the missing tooth.
  • Genetics: Even if you are born with straight teeth, your genes could dictate that your teeth will shift at some point due to the cumulative effects described above.

You can prevent your teeth from shifting with daily brushing and flossing and regular check ups with your dentist to keep your teeth clean and cavity free. Intercepting these issues early can be done with simple treatments.

Your dentist can also treat any of the other contributing factors like tooth grinding and loss. Be sure to point out any changes you notice while brushing or flossing, such as floss that slips with no resistance and areas where food is collecting, as those are clear indicators of teeth shifting.

If you notice that your teeth are shifting you can stop it by being fitted with a retainer or night guard. A retainer holds teeth in place and can also help alleviate headaches and pain due to TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders). Night guards work the same way but also help prevent teeth grinding during sleep.

A longer range solution for shifting teeth may be to consider orthodontic repositioning or even restoration of the teeth with porcelain veneers or dental crowns. Invisalign® may be an alternative to traditional brackets and wires. Invisalign is actually a software application that manages the movement of the teeth in a computer, and then fabricates a series of clear invisible aligners that slip over the teeth and gently reposition the teeth progressively until they are in the desired position.

Teeth shifting can begin at any age but most people typically see cumulative changes in their 30’s.

A recent study revealed that more people have a greater desire for a beautiful smile than clear skin; and trust individuals with straight teeth over those whose teeth are crooked.

Whatever your motivation for re-designing your smile, make sure you visit a professional like Annapolis area dentist Dr. Scott Finlay, DDS who provides general dentistry services with a special interest in the comprehensive approach to cosmetic/restorative dentistry, to provide the right solution for you.