Why Do Teeth Shift?

At Picasso Smiles in El Paso, we pride ourselves on being experts in teeth movement since we commonly help guide teeth into more optimal positions for our patients! It’s common to think that orthodontic treatment is the only way to move teeth, but this is untrue. There are several reasons why teeth will shift over time, and it’s important to understand the causes in case professional treatment is required.

The Anatomy of the Tooth and Jawbone


In order to understand how it’s even possible for teeth to shift, we’re first going to explain the anatomy of the teeth and jawbone and how the materials work together.

Teeth: Teeth have an outer layer called cementum which is made of minerals and collagen.

Jawbone: The jawbone is connected to the teeth through the periodontal ligament. This ligament is comprised of collagen and tightly wrapped connective tissue.

Teeth and Jawbones: Between the cementum layer of teeth and the periodontal ligament, teeth are sturdily fastened in the mouth. Keep in mind, the ligament, while strong, is also a flexible, soft tissue making it susceptible to mobility.

Causes of Tooth Shifting


Given that the teeth and jawbone are connected by flexible tissues, it is without a doubt that any tooth has the potential to shift or even knocked out of place. The following causes can provoke a shift in teeth:

  • Age: Mesial drift causes your teeth to move toward the front of your mouth with age

  • The decrease in enamel: Enamel loss changes tooth shape, causing teeth to move out of alignment

  • Gum disease: Bacteria and plaque buildup can increase your chances of gum disease and result in broken teeth and tooth loss in severe cases

  • Diabetes: Secondary diseases, like untreated diabetes, can cause tooth loss. Missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to move sideways or downward.

Contact Our El Paso Dental & Orthodontic Office with Questions Today!


If you’ve recently finished orthodontic treatment or have lapsed in your retainer habits, you may want to consider visiting us at Picasso Smiles to evaluate signs of teeth shifting. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment. Our team looks forward to seeing you soon!

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