How to Prevent Teeth From Shifting
In addition to tooth decay and infections, misalignment is another common and potentially painful dental condition. When your teeth are misaligned or shifting, it disturbs the remainder of your healthy teeth. It can also cause an overbite or underbite that can result in jaw pain. Understanding how to prevent teeth shifting begins with learning about the most common causes of misalignment.
When it comes to proper dental health, practicing ideal hygiene and regularly seeing your dentist are two of the best ways to prevent conditions like tooth decay, infections, and gum disease. Dental issues impact people of all ages. 50% of adolescents have tooth decay and 25% of all seniors have no natural teeth. In 2010, more than 2 million Americans visited an emergency room because of a dental problem, which demonstrates the importance of regular dental care.
What Causes Teeth to Shift?
Practicing optimal oral hygiene may not be enough to prevent teeth from shifting. Seeing your dentist at least once a year is an important way to learn how to stop teeth shifting. Your dentist can identify signs of misalignment and provide suggestions for how to address it.
Some of the most common causes of teeth shifting include:
- Tooth loss
- Gum disease
- Grinding your teeth
- Clenching your jaw
Tooth loss can lead to shifting in your mouth because healthy teeth will attempt to fill a gap left by an extracted tooth. Your remaining teeth will naturally shift towards the exposed gum where your tooth used to reside, which can lead to significant misalignment.
Conditions like TMJ, which can cause grinding and clenching, can damage your teeth and improperly place too much pressure on certain teeth. When your teeth are compromised structurally, it can force healthy teeth to overwork to compensate for the damaged teeth. Crowding can also occur because your mouth is simply too small.
How to Prevent Misalignment
Since many of the causes of teeth shifting are related to dental conditions or missing teeth, making sure you address underlying dental problems is essential. If you have a missing tooth, an implant can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting. If you have regular jaw and mouth pain or suffer from TMJ, working with your dentist to prevent clenching and grinding can prevent misalignment.
Overbites and underbites can result from TMJ, which forces certain teeth to wear down. If you struggle with misalignment, braces can prevent shifting by straightening your teeth, which ensures your bite remains healthy and proper.
Preventing conditions like gum disease is another step to avoid experiencing misalignment. Understanding how to prevent teeth shifting means taking actions to practice proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing remove harmful bacteria and food particles that can cause plaque and tartar.
Dental cavities can lead to tooth infections, which may require extraction. Severe infections or damage to your teeth may make extraction the only option, which can lead to misalignment, especially if you do not get an implant.
You can also talk to your dentist to learn more about how to prevent teeth shifting. During annual exams, your dentist will take X-rays of your mouth to make sure you are not at risk for conditions like gum disease or tooth loss.
Make a Dental Appointment Today
If you are wondering how to prevent teeth shifting, chances are you are experiencing misalignment or other cosmetic issues. Teeth shift for a variety of reasons, ranging from poor dental hygiene to conditions like TMJ. Making sure that you follow-up with your dentist on at least an annual basis ensures that signs of shifting are identified early when treatment options are less invasive.