When teeth drift out of place, leaning or moving toward other locations, patients and dentists refer to it as “shifting.” Shifting teeth can occur due to a few different factors, and they have a dramatic influence on the appearance and health of your smile. Why do teeth shift?
Periodontal disease is an infectious condition that causes bone loss around teeth. As bone is lost, so is the structural integrity of the tooth that is affected. Teeth may become mobile, or just start to lean in the direction of the bone loss.
If a tooth is extracted or falls out, it no longer holds the adjacent teeth apart from one another. Instead, those teeth drift out of place, shifting or leaning into the open area next to them. After all, there’s no longer a support to retain the tooth in an upright position.
Wisdom Tooth Development
It’s very common for wisdom teeth to develop at an angle that causes them to be “aimed” toward the adjacent tooth, sometimes causing impaction. As the wisdom tooth develops even further, the teeth next to them are pushed forward. This chain reaction occurs throughout all areas of the mouth, causing teeth to be physically pushed out of place by the original source: the wisdom teeth.
Diastemas are the gap between the two, top front teeth. An extremely tight muscle between those teeth may cause a diastema. The muscle can even cause teeth that have been corrected by braces to relapse into a gapped position, unless the muscle has been surgically altered.
If you’re seeing your teeth shift, it’s time to see your dentist. Other conditions like bruxism / teeth grinding can cause shifting as well. Your dentist can discuss non-invasive ways to retain tooth positioning and prevent further shifting from occurring.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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