Have Your Teeth Shifted After Years of Braces? Here's Why - Thomas Orthodontics

Have Your Teeth Shifted After Years of Braces? Here’s Why

young woman smiling and brushing her teeth in mirror

We expect a child’s teeth to be constantly moving and shifting due to losing baby teeth and adult teeth taking their place. However, children aren’t the only ones susceptible to a shifting smile. Teeth can continue to move well into adulthood, which can leave you wondering what’s causing your teeth to move and what you can do about it.

Learn the most common reasons why your teeth may be moving as an adult and what type of treatments we recommend most to our adult orthodontic patients.

Why Your Teeth Are Shifting

There are various reasons why your teeth may shift and change positions as an adult. If you can identify early on what is causing your teeth to shift, you can prevent the shifting from becoming worse. The top causes of shifting teeth in adults are the following.


When our bodies age, the areas between our teeth begin to wear away because your enamel begins to thin out. The lower teeth have less enamel than the top teeth, so the lowers tend to wear away faster. If your lower teeth experience an increase in wear and tear, they are less able to withstand the force of the top teeth when chewing or when you bite down, which leads to shifting.


Your genes dictate if your teeth will shift during your lifetime. Even patients born with straight teeth that have never had braces are at risk of their teeth eventually shifting out of line if they’re genetically predetermined to do so.

A Habit of Teeth Grinding

When you grind your teeth, you put tension on your upper teeth, forcing the lower jaw to push forward. The constant thrusting affects the position of your upper arch, which pushes it out of alignment.

Cavities and Decay

When cavities are filled, the composite can cause changes to your teeth and alter your bite slightly. In trade, if you have untreated tooth decay, it can spread to the gums and bone, eating away the bone that holds the teeth in place. This causes the teeth to become loose, permitting them to shift easier.

Tooth Loss

If you’re missing a tooth on the bottom, the tooth above it will grow downward since there is nothing below to stop it. The teeth next to the missing tooth will also start to move in sideways.

Periodontal Disease

Improper oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup beneath your gums, attracting bacteria and causing a periodontal infection. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause the gums to pull away from the tooth, loosening it in the process.

How to Prevent Teeth From Shifting

The most straightforward way to stay ahead of potential oral health issues is by scheduling routine exams every six months. Additionally, it’s imperative to schedule an exam if you begin to notice a change in your bite or the alignment of your teeth. Your dentist can help determine the cause of your shifting teeth and may recommend the following remedies:

If shifting occurs naturally due to aging – If you have lost teeth due to aging, the adjacent teeth are likely to shift and cause your bite to change. If you lose a tooth, take action to restore it with an implant, bridge, or partial denture as soon as possible to avoid difficulties in biting or jaw pain.

If you have gingivitis or gum disease – The number one cause of tooth loss is gum disease, which can also be linked to various other health conditions. Brush and floss regularly and schedule routine exams and cleanings with your dentist to help prevent gum disease from taking hold.

Orthodontic treatment – Regardless of the reasoning behind your shifting teeth, once the cause is under control, your teeth may have shifted so significantly that the look of your smile makes you self-conscious. Orthodontic treatment can give you the restored confidence in your smile at any age.

When To See an Orthodontist For Help

If you notice a significant shift in the alignment of your teeth, we recommend scheduling a consultation appointment as soon as possible. Together, we can help determine what’s causing your smile to shift and develop a treatment plan to prevent permanent damage. The sooner the cause of your shifting teeth is identified, the sooner we can restore your smile to a healthy state. Contact Thomas Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment!