Can Shifting Teeth Be Corrected?

A person’s teeth can shift for a number of different reasons. If you’re missing one or more natural teeth, your remaining teeth may have drifted into the gaps left by the missing tooth. If you have gum disease, your teeth may be more prone to moving because the tissues that stabilize them are weakened by disease. Cavities, tooth grinding, genetics, and normal wear and tear can also contribute to shifting teeth, which can happen throughout a person’s lifespan and could be minor, significant, or anywhere in between. In many cases, the teeth continue to shift after orthodontic treatments like braces are removed; retainers are designed to prevent this from happening but must be worn as directed to remain effective. Thankfully, there are many options for repairing teeth that have shifted, and your dentist can review your choices before beginning treatment if you’re wondering if your shifting teeth can be corrected.

While the idea of getting braces after you’ve already had them might not be appealing, they remain a tried-and-true method of repairing shifted teeth and returning them to their proper positions. Although braces can fix all manner of shifted teeth, regardless of possible complexities, they can be uncomfortable, unattractive, and inconvenient, requiring frequent trips to the dentist for installation and adjustments. To prevent the need for repeated treatment with braces, make sure to wear your retainer as directed following any orthodontic procedure.

Many patients choose to correct their shifting teeth with Invisalign, which are clear aligning trays that eliminate the painful, unattractive metal brackets and wires used in braces. These trays are crafted at a dental lab, based on digital images of the teeth. Each patient receives a series of trays that fit over the teeth and gradually move them into a more ideal alignment, with a new tray arriving every couple of weeks. Invisalign is convenient, comfortable, and nearly invisible, and patients can keep their teeth clean more easily with Invisalign than with braces. However, because the trays are removable, patients may forget to wear them for the prescribed amount of time, rendering them less effective. With correct use, though, Invisalign can effectively, conveniently shift the teeth into proper alignment.

Of course, using retainers as directed following any dental alignment treatment can help the teeth from shifting out of place again. Keeping the teeth and gums clean and healthy can also help keep the teeth securely in place, as the health and integrity of the gums and bone are affected by oral hygiene. Any effective oral hygiene routine should include twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, daily flossing, and routine visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings. Weak bone and gums can only do so much to stabilize the teeth, and one of the primary symptoms of gum disease is often shifting teeth. Teeth can also shift because of chronic clenching or grinding, which can be prevented with a mouth guard that’s worn while sleeping. To prevent the inconvenience and expense of orthodontic treatment, do your part to keep your teeth from shifting in the first place, and follow your dentist’s and orthodontist’s recommendations to keep your teeth in place following treatment.

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