The happiness and relief of their new, straight smile after the years and expense of braces is short-lived as teeth start to shift back to their original positions. Among the reasons this can happen is that once the pressure from the braces is lost, the ligaments activate their muscle memory and remember the old positions of the teeth, gradually shifting them back.
There is a tendency of the teeth to drift toward the front of the dental arch (toward the lips). As well, chewing and grinding the teeth can cause the enamel to wear down, forming gaps that lead to drifting as those spaces grow.
Teeth-grinding, or bruxism, is a common issue that can increase the likelihood of teeth shifting. The constant application of force on the surfaces of teeth can cause molars to change position, which in turn places stress on surrounding teeth.
A missing tooth leaves a space, and the natural response of the other teeth is to creep over to fill it. Wisdom teeth tend to cause overcrowding to begin with, so their loss often doesn’t pose a shifting risk.
Gum diseases can also cause the teeth to shift in several ways. As the inflamed “pockets” enlarge and ligaments holding them in place start to loosen, the teeth may start to shift position.
Through your regular exams and x-rays, our dental team will be able to see whether your teeth are shifting and make recommendations, if necessary, to mitigate the issue.