Preventive Dentistry |4 min read

Signs Your Teeth Are Shifting

Shifting teeth signs and how to deal with it

Tooth shifting, a phenomenon often unnoticed until it becomes more pronounced, can significantly impact oral health and appearance.

This process, where teeth gradually move or shift from their original position, can happen for various reasons, including age, genetics, tooth loss, oral habits, or insufficient orthodontic treatment.

Today we’ll uncover the signs your teeth are shifting, explore its common causes, and emphasize the importance of addressing it promptly.

Understanding tooth shifting

Tooth shifting can manifest in various ways, such as changes in tooth alignment, bite irregularities, gaps between teeth, crowding, or even loose teeth.

These shifts can occur in adults and children and may result from various causes.

Understanding the signs and causes of tooth shifting can help you recognize and address the issue before it progresses.

Common causes of tooth shifting

Several factors contribute to tooth shifting, including:

Aging: Our bones and tissues change as we age, including teeth shifting.

Tooth loss: Gaps left by missing teeth can cause neighboring teeth to shift toward the space.

Dental conditions: Periodontal disease, tooth decay, or other dental problems can weaken the support structures, leading to tooth shifting.

Habits and lifestyle: Oral habits like tongue thrusting, teeth grinding (bruxism), or using teeth as tools can exert pressure on teeth, causing them to shift.

Signs and symptoms of tooth shifting

Movement of teeth: One of the primary signs of tooth shifting is the noticeable movement or displacement of teeth from their original positions.

Changes in bite: Teeth shifting can lead to irregularities in your bite, causing discomfort or difficulty when biting or chewing.

Gaps and spaces: Teeth shifting can create gaps and spaces between teeth that were once tightly aligned.

Crowding: Shifting can cause overcrowding, where teeth become tightly packed and may overlap each other, making it challenging to clean them properly.

Loose teeth: Tooth shifting can lead to the loosening of teeth, which can be a cause for concern and may indicate underlying issues.

Complications of untreated tooth shifting

Ignoring tooth shifting can have several consequences for your dental health.

It’s essential to address the issue to prevent further complications, including:

Dental misalignment: When teeth shift, they can disrupt the proper alignment of your bite.

This misalignment can lead to uneven wear on teeth, jaw pain, and difficulties in speaking or chewing.

Oral health issues: Teeth that have shifted may become harder to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ): Significant tooth shifting can affect the harmony of your jaw joints, leading to temporomandibular joint disorder.

TMJ can cause jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds, headaches, and restricted jaw movement.

Preventing and managing tooth shifting

While some degree of natural tooth shifting may occur, there are steps you can take to prevent or manage significant shifts:

Regular dental checkups: Schedule routine dental visits, allowing your dentist to monitor your oral health, identify early signs of tooth shifting, and provide appropriate guidance.

Orthodontic treatment: If tooth shifting is significant, orthodontic treatment may be recommended.

Braces, clear aligners, or orthodontic appliances can help realign teeth and correct bite irregularities.

Retainers: After orthodontic treatment, wearing retainers as prescribed by your dentist or orthodontist helps maintain the alignment of your teeth and prevents relapse.

Oral hygiene: Practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and using mouthwash.

Proper oral hygiene reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, which can contribute to teeth shifting.

Lifestyle changes: Avoid habits that exert excessive pressure on your teeth, such as nail-biting, using teeth as tools, or chewing on hard objects like pens or ice.

Additionally, wearing a mouthguard during sports can protect your teeth from trauma that could lead to shifting.

When to seek professional help

If you notice any signs of tooth shifting, seek professional dental help.

Your dentist can evaluate your oral health, determine the extent of the shifting, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Early intervention can prevent further complications and ensure the best possible outcome.


Tooth shifting can lead to bite irregularities, gaps between teeth, crowding, and even loose teeth.

If left untreated, it can result in dental misalignment, oral health problems, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Factors such as aging, tooth loss, dental conditions, and habits/lifestyle contribute to tooth shifting.

Preventing and managing tooth shifting involves regular dental checkups, orthodontic treatment if necessary, wearing retainers, practicing good oral hygiene, and making lifestyle changes.

Proactively addressing tooth shifting early on can maintain optimal oral health and prevent further complications.

Remember, if you notice any signs of tooth shifting, seek professional help from your dentist or orthodontist.

They can evaluate your condition, provide appropriate treatment options, and guide you toward a healthy and aligned smile.


Take control of your smile! Learn about tooth shifting and how to maintain proper dental alignment. Call us today and get started now!


Request an Appointment


We proudly serve Durham, NC, and surrounding communities in Raleigh, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Mebane, and Timberlake.