As children, we become accustomed to changes in our teeth. We look forward to visits from the tooth fairy and watch our smiles take their shape (perhaps with the help of braces) as we make our way into our teens. However, seeing and feeling your teeth move as a full-grown adult is a very different experience. Noticing shifts in your smile as an adult can be unnerving, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing. At our Houston dental practice, Dr. Cindy Flanagan and our team are here to answer all of your oral health questions and help you enjoy a beautiful, stable smile. In the following blog, we explain a few of the most common reasons your teeth might be moving and describe how we can help.
The Aging Process
It might seem bizarre for your adult teeth to move, but it’s actually to be expected. My New Smile explains: “adult tooth movement is usually a natural process. Your body has this tooth movement mechanism in place in order to keep your teeth in proper alignment…Your molars all have a natural forward drift throughout your life…This natural, helpful force can cause problems if your teeth start to get out of alignment.” Ideally, your teeth will only move as needed as you age, carefully calibrating to your bite but, even the slightest change can throw this system out of whack.
My New Smile illustrates this: “picture a line of drinking glasses, all touching each other, and you are holding one glass on each end of he line and pushing gently inward. If these glasses are all perfectly lined up, a gentle force will keep them in line. However, if one glass gets slightly out of line, your pushing on them will cause the line to jumble. It’s the same with your teeth.” Whether or not you know it, your teeth are moving. You’re simply more likely to notice it if this motion disrupts the delicate balance of your molars.
This also means that people who had braces in their younger years need to continue wearing some form of retainer to maintain their results, or potentially face the possibility of another round of orthodontia later in life. If you want to straighten your adult teeth, Dr. Flanagan and our team often recommend Invisalign, a discreet, advanced straightening system.
A Periodontal Problem
Did you know that failing to floss could cause your teeth to shift? Improper oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup beneath your gums, attracting bacteria and causing a periodontal infection. If left untreated, this gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause the gums to pull away from the tooth, loosening it. This is why it is very important to maintain a daily routine of brushing and flossing, as well as staying up to date with biannual preventive care appointments at our office.
The Grind of Bruxism
If you clench your teeth up against each other as you sleep or during stressful times, this force could both wear down their enamel and cause them to shift in your mouth. New Beauty describes: “grinding forces the lower jaw forward and puts tension on the upper teeth. The continual thrusting affects the position of the upper arch, pushing it out of alignment.” Bruxism can also cause headaches, tooth chips, jaw soreness, and more. If you grind your teeth, Dr. Flanagan may fit you for a custom mouth guard or recommend a variety of other treatments to protect your teeth.
Are Your Teeth Moving?
If you notice your teeth moving, we strongly suggest that you come see Dr. Flanagan as soon as possible, since this can be a rather serious symptom. The sooner we can identify the cause for the shift in your teeth, the more simply we can treat it to stabilize your smile! Contact our Houston dental practice today to find out more and schedule your appointment.
Original Source: http://flanagansmiles.com/restorations/teeth-moving/