In our orthodontic department we often have older patients telling us that they feel their teeth are moving.
Even patients fortunate enough to have had naturally straight teeth as a teenager can be faced with this problem as they age. It is also common for patients who have had orthodontic treatment in their teenage years to need follow-up treatment to re-align their teeth later on.
Teeth are not set in concrete! They are in a dynamic environment and are attached to our jaw bones via ligaments. These bones and ligaments are always changing and remodelling to compensate for the many forces placed on our teeth, including normal chewing. This process of change allows our teeth to move and, although this movement is gradual and imperceptible, it can, in the long term, affect the aesthetics of our smile.
Age and biology
As we age, our bones, tissues and ligaments remodel and age, causing them to weaken. When this happens, our teeth have a natural tendency to shift forward, towards the centre of the face, and it is common to see the crowding or overlapping of teeth especially in the anterior region.
Early loss of teeth
If there has been early loss of adult teeth, the surrounding teeth will start to drift into the resulting space.
Periodontal or gum disease is increasingly common in adulthood. In patients with this condition, the surrounding bone and ligaments supporting the teeth are weakened and compromised, which makes them more prone to move out of alignment.
Certain habits – such as clenching, grinding and tongue thrusting –exert a force on teeth. When forces are repeatedly imposed, teeth may shift over time.
Failure to wear retainers
Some patients who have previously had orthodontic treatment eventually become complacent about the important role played by their retainers and they decide to stop wearing them. Once this occurs, the retainer will no longer fit over their teeth and they face a second round of treatment to correct the mis-alignment.
Fortunately, whether you are a teenager or an adult, it is never too late to re-align your teeth and achieve the beautiful smile you always desired. The available options for teeth straightening include traditional braces; and, especially for adults, Invisalign treatment, which uses a series of clear aligners to gradually move the teeth back into alignment.
Whichever teeth straightening option you choose, retainers are a lifetime commitment to protect the investment you have made to achieve your dream smile, as well as combat all the forces and factors that commonly cause tooth movement. At Smile Solutions we offer a range of retainer options, including fixed and removable retainers, and we strive to work with you to ensure that your ideal smile lasts a lifetime!