Teeth Shifting: What can you do to stop them

stop teeth from shifting
stop teeth from shifting
  • Published Date: July 30, 2020
  • Updated Date: September 17, 2023
  • Reading Time: 11 min

Noticed that your teeth are moving? It’s not your imagination.

Teeth shifting is a natural process that happens to us all. Usually, this shifting is gradual and causes no problems.

However, certain factors may cause teeth to shift more rapidly, which may start to become a concern. Teeth may start to move in unwanted directions leading to crookedness, growing gaps or a prominent overbite/underbite.

When this happens, teeth shifting can start to have a negative impact. Some of the problems that can develop from teeth shifting include:

  • Embarrassment in one’s smile
  • Difficulty cleaning teeth
  • Subsequent tooth decay/gum disease
  • Pain as a result of teeth moving or pain as a result of decay (including tooth pain, jaw pain and headaches)
  • Speech difficulties

Fortunately, teeth shifting is a problem that can be fixed. This guide offers more information on teeth shifting and what you can do to stop it.

The science behind shifting teeth

Many of us think of our teeth as bones that are fixed to our jaw and skull bones. This isn’t the case.
Technically, our teeth aren’t bones at all. Unlike bones, they don’t contain marrow or any regenerative powers. They do consist mostly of inorganic minerals like calcium, but they contain other tissue too not found in bones. They are also not joined directly to our skull and jaw bone, but in fact connected by ligaments. As a result they react independently to bones.
Our teeth are always naturally moving forward. This is known as mesial drift and is believed to occur due to its past evolutionary benefits. Humans used to rely heavily on their teeth as tools, which would cause them to become worn down around the side and narrowed. The wearing down of the side of each tooth leads to gaps – mesial drift is a way of naturally filling these gaps by bringing teeth behind these gaps forward.
While teeth can move naturally, other factors can have an impact on the movement of our teeth too. Damage to our mouths and applied pressure may cause teeth to start moving – and this movement could be more rapid.

So, why are my teeth shifting?

As mentioned, teeth can shift naturally as a result of mesial drift, but this is generally gradual. If teeth shifting is noticeable, it could be that there is another issue to blame. Teeth may noticeably start to shift if:

  • You’ve recently had braces removed
  • You’ve recently had teeth removed
  • You’ve got gum disease/gum recession
  • You grind your teeth
  • A poorly aligned bite is causing your teeth to shift

All of these individual reasons are discussed in more detail below…

You’ve recently had braces removed

The number one reason for getting braces fitted is to achieve straight teeth. However, after successful orthodontic treatment, teeth can start to shift back to their previous position.
This is why most orthodontists will recommend wearing a retainer after having had a brace fitted. This is generally worn at night and stops the teeth from returning back to their previous shape. If you haven’t been wearing a retainer, this could be a reason as to why your teeth are moving.

You’ve recently had teeth removed

If you’ve recently had teeth removed (or you’ve been unfortunately enough to have teeth knocked out), your teeth may start to move forward in order to fill the gap. In other cases, the tooth directly above or below the gap may start to grow out (so it looks like you’ve got an extra long tooth!). The tooth senses that there is nothing in the way to stop it and so grows out into the gap.
Can removal of wisdom teeth cause teeth to shift? Generally, no. Wisdom teeth are located right at the back of the mouth and teeth have a tendency to move forwards to fill gaps rather than backwards. Wisdom teeth may be removed due to problems involving impaction, but they usually don’t cause other teeth to move. While traditionally, wisdom teeth were thought to be a major cause, modern research has proven that this is not the case.

You’ve got gum disease/gum recession

Teeth and braces are closely intertwined, with orthodontic treatment aimed at achieving a beautifully aligned and functional smile. However, the process of straightening teeth with braces can sometimes lead to temporary discomfort or adjustments in jaw alignment and muscle function. This is where physiotherapy with Atlas Physical Therapy can play a crucial role.

Physiotherapists specialize in optimizing musculoskeletal health, which includes addressing issues related to the jaw, facial muscles, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ). They can offer tailored exercises and techniques to alleviate discomfort associated with braces, improve jaw mobility, and ensure proper muscle function throughout the orthodontic journey. This collaborative approach between orthodontics and physiotherapy not only helps patients achieve a straighter smile but also promotes overall oral health and comfort during the treatment process.

You grind your teeth

Do you grind your teeth at night? This common disorder known as ‘bruxism’ can lead to worn tips of teeth as they grind against one another – and in extreme cases can lead to teeth shifting. Constantly grinding teeth against one another in a certain direction may eventually cause your bite to change.

A poorly aligned bite is causing your teeth to shift

If you have a severe overbite or underbite then your teeth are already misaligned. However, they could become even more misaligned over time. When clenching your teeth, you could find that your back teeth end up sitting behind your front teeth (or visa versa) which could result in the protruding row of teeth being pushed forward even further. A poorly aligned bite (known medically as ‘malocclusion’) may be something that you were born with, but could also have a number of other causes from sucking one’s thumb (common in young kids) from the presence of tumours in the mouth.

Will my teeth shift back by themselves?

If you’ve noticed that your teeth are on the move, it’s unlikely that they will return back to their normal position. In fact, they are likely to continue shifting – which could cause any unwanted gaps, overcrowding or wonkiness to get worse!

What can I do to stop my teeth from shifting?

If your teeth are shifting, it is likely that you’ll want to find a solution to prevent this. The best solution can depend on the reason for your teeth shifting.
If you’ve recently had braces removed, your orthodontist should have provided you with a custom-fitted retainer. It is important that you wear this retainer to stop your teeth shifting back – you don’t want to undo all that hard work! If your retainer no longer fits, you may want to book an appointment with your orthodontist. In serious cases, braces may need to be refitted.
If you’ve recently lost a tooth and you now have a gap, it’s worth looking into ways to fill the gap. Your remaining teeth will naturally try to fill the gap. By having a dental implant fitted or a dental bridge fitted, you can get rid of the gap and stop teeth from wanting to move. If it’s a tooth that was removed to prevent overcrowding, braces could be recommended to help move your teeth and fill the gap.
If you have gum disease or gum recession, it could be worth seeing a periodontist to look into ways of treating this. Brushing up on your dental hygiene could help you to strengthen your gums. In some cases, braces may be able to be used to reposition teeth.
If you grind your teeth, you may want to talk to your dentist about a solution. If the tips of your teeth have been grinded away and are sore, dental treatment may be necessary. You may be able to get a mouthguard fitted to wear at night to prevent further teeth grinding. To fix misaligned teeth, braces may be an option.
If you’ve got a poorly aligned bite, you should again see a dentist to make sure that there are no serious problems causing it. Braces could well be a solution for returning your bite to normal, as well as preventing further teeth shifting.

So, are braces the solution?

In all cases, braces can be a solution. This teeth straightening procedure will help to get rid of any gaps, crookedness or bite misalignment, while also preventing teeth from continuing to move.
But what if I don’t want braces?
When most of us think of the word braces, we assume traditional train track braces – but this is only one method of teeth straightening. Braces now come in many forms including lingual braces and ceramic braces.
And then there’s clear braces as offered by us at StraightMyTeeth.

How can StraightMyTeeth clear braces help with teeth shifting?

Our clear braces are designed to help move misaligned teeth back into place. Unlike traditional metal braces, our clear braces take the form of a see-through aligner. This works much like a retainer – but one that can be worn throughout the day.
There’s no need to visit an in-house orthodontist when choosing our solution. Our teeth straightening procedure can be carried entirely from home.
– You start by taking a 30-second assessment on our site. This is free and allows us to find the best form of treatment for your teeth.
– We then send out an at-home Dream Smile Box™. This includes a StraightMyTeeth impression kit for taking an impression of your teeth. This comes with full postage to and from you, orthodontic prescription, disposable gloves and a cheek retractor.
– You send the impression back to us and we mould you a custom-fitted aligner to help straighten your teeth. As soon as it arrives, you can put it in your mouth and begin the treatment.
Throughout the entire process, you don’t even have to speak to an orthodontist. At the same time, you can rest assured that a team of highly-qualified orthodontic professionals will be working behind the scenes to build your clear braces. We aim to provide maximum comfort while meeting your teeth straightening goals.

The benefits of clear braces

Clear braces have many benefits over other types of braces. Some of these benefits include:

  • An invisible appearance. Clear braces are transparent making them practically unnoticeable. This can give many people increased confidence compared to traditional metal braces.
  • Improved dental hygiene. Clear braces are easier to clean than traditional braces. With metal braces you have to take great care when brushing in order to avoid build-ups of plaque. Clear braces are removable making it possible to clean your teeth normally, while allowing you to thoroughly clean the braces separately.
  • Improved comfort. Clear braces are more comfortable to wear than metal braces. They are engineered to be a snug fit. You don’t have pieces of metal in your mouth rubbing against the inside of your cheeks and lips.
  • No restrictions as to what you can eat. You may not be able to eat certain sticky foods with traditional braces in. Clear braces can be taken out whenever you eat, allowing you to eat all the same foods as before.
  • Less time to complete treatment. With metal braces it can take 2 to 3 years to complete treatment. In the case of clear braces, it generally takes only 4 to 6 months for teeth to be straightened.
  • More affordable. Metal braces can cost as much as £3000. Our clear braces treatment plans are a third of the price.

Why choose StraightMyTeeth?

Our StraightMyTeeth clear braces are the best choice on the market.
We are a lot more affordable than other brands of clear braces in the UK. While some clear braces can cost as much as £4,600.00, StraightMyTeeth’s clear braces can cost little as £999.00.
On top of being affordable, our clear braces are also high quality. Engineered by our highly experienced orthodontic team, our clear braces are built to be very comfortable while achieving your teeth straightening goals.
Our clear braces are FDA approved. We have built up many positive reviews and have an esteemed reputation.
Try our free 30-second assessment today!
By taking our free 30-second assessment, we can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for our clear braces. Solving your teeth shifting problems and straightening your teeth has never been easier.


  1. This is extremely interesting that our teeth can still move…. you always think your teeth are so “permanent” meaning they could never shift or anything.

  2. Many of us think that once we get our permanent teeth, they are going to stay in the same position as they are, but that is definitely not true!

  3. I’m scared the gap in my front teeth is gonna throw off the alignment of the other teeth! I guess it will just keep getting worse if I don’t do anything about it?

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