Symptoms & Symptoms of Shifting Teeth

Shifting of the teeth is a phenomenon which commonly remains unnoticed until it becomes more severe. Over time, it can cause oral health issues and negatively impact the patient’s smile. It is normal for the teeth to gradually move and shift due to the natural aging process or due to genetics. Other causes for shifting can include oral habits, tooth loss, and orthodontic treatment. Common signs, causes, and treatments for tooth shifting are summarized below.

Tooth shifting can result in a change in the alignment of the teeth, impact the bite, cause gaps between the teeth, crowding, and loose teeth in severe cases. The movement is more common in adults, but can also impact children. It is important to understand the signs, symptoms and causes of tooth shifting in order to prevent serious issues.


Below are common factors which can cause the teeth to shift:

  • Aging – Bones and tissues change as we age. In some cases, this allows for movement of the teeth.
  • Tooth loss – A gap in the mouth from a missing tooth can allow for the adjacent teeth to shift into the new space.
  • Oral health – Gum disease, decay, and other types of dental health issues can lead to teeth shifting.
  • Habits and lifestyle – Things such as tongue thrusting, grinding, and using the teeth as a tool can place a great deal of pressure on the teeth and result in shifting.

Signs & Symptoms

  1. Bite: Shifting often results in changes to the bite. This can result in discomfort or challenges with chewing or biting down.
  2. Crowding: Shifting can also cause overcrowding of the teeth. This can also make it more difficult to clean the teeth.
  3. Loose teeth: Another common sign of shifting is loose teeth, which commonly indicates the presence of an underlying issue.
  4. Movement: A primary sign of tooth shifting is when a patient experiences noticeable movement of the teeth.
  5. Spaces and gaps: When there is shifting, it can create newly formed gaps or spaces between teeth.


Tooth shifting should be taken seriously as it can result in serious consequences when it remains untreated. Complications associated with shifting teeth can include misaligned teeth, oral health issues and TMJ. Teeth shifting can negatively impact the patient’s bite, resulting in uneven wear, jaw pain, and even challenges with chewing or speaking. The teeth may also be harder to clean, making the patient at an increased risk for gum disease, decay, and infections. When a patient has significant shifting, they may experience temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. TMJ often causes jaw pain, headaches, clicking, and can limit the movement of the jaw.


Prevention and Treatment

Minor tooth shifting is natural and often occurs over time. However, below are things which can help prevent or treat more severe cases of shifting.

Patients should practice good oral hygiene which include daily brushing and flossing. This helps prevent issues such as gum disease and decay. Patients should also make regular visits to the dentist. During these visits, the dentist can monitor the patient’s oral health and ensure any issues are promptly detected.

Orthodontic treatment is often recommended in cases of significant tooth shifting. This typically includes traditional braces, clear aligners, an orthodontic appliance, or combination of these things. These treatments can help achieve properly alignment of the teeth and a good bite. Following orthodontic treatment, patients should be diligent in wearing retainers provided by the dental professional. It is quite common for the teeth to shift back into their natural position after treatment.

Patients should avoid habits which place additional pressure on the teeth. This can include biting nails, using the teeth as a tool, or biting on hard objects such as ice. Patients who play sports should wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth from accidental trauma.

Patients who begin to notice signs of shifting teeth should follow up with a dentist right away. The dentist will evaluate the patient’s oral health, identify the severity of the shifting, and provide recommendations for treatment. Timeline intervention is critical in the preventing of serious complications and helps ensure an optimal outcome.

Why are my Teeth Shifting