Are my teeth becoming crooked? This is a common question that people ask their friends, family, or coworkers when they start noticing a change in their smile or bite. Teeth shift and change in their alignment every minute of the day. However, when the forces of our bite balance one another appropriately, the shifting is hardly noticeable.
As we get older, the natural tendency is for teeth to move forward. This is called a physiologic drift and teeth will move without any abnormal forces acting on them. Sometimes, as teeth drift forward, lower front teeth start looking crowded. One way to treat or prevent crowding is to use clear aligners to straighten teeth or wear retainers to prevent shifting.
Another reason that teeth can look different is attrition. Attrition is the wearing down of teeth that can occur from grinding and clenching. This is a process that continues as grinding occurs and reduces the height of teeth until it appears that the teeth are a fraction of the size that they once were. Our teeth attempt to compensate for attrition by shifting and getting repositioned. If teeth become crooked due to shifting from occlusal wear (attrition), a night guard or occlusal guard can help resolve this problem.
Sometimes, after orthodontic treatment is complete, if retainers are not worn for days, months, or even years, teeth can relapse into their former position. This can also make teeth that were properly aligned in appearance look crooked.
It is important to replace missing teeth or stabilize the teeth around a gap. If a tooth is lost or removed, the adjacent or opposing teeth move into the space until they reach a stop. The movement that occurs as other teeth move around to close the gap can cause a misalignment that is perceived as crooked teeth. An implant, bridge, or a partial denture can close the space that results from losing a tooth.
If you would like to have your smile evaluated, contact us at Museum Smiles for a consultation. We are located within a few minutes of Downtown Fort Worth, and proudly serve patients from Arlington, Keller, and Fort Worth Areas.