5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Shifting After Braces

Nearly 4 million people a year get braces to straighten their teeth and correct jaw alignment issues, such as an overbite. That’s why Dr. Chad Carver offers a variety of orthodontic treatments at Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington.

We know that getting braces is a huge commitment. In fact, most people need braces for at least 18 months to 3 years to straighten their teeth. So, after all that time and money, it can feel frustrating to see your teeth shifting back into old patterns.

Why does this happen? Believe it or not, teeth shifting after braces or clear aligners is more common than you think. Fortunately, we know what causes shifting teeth and how you can prevent it.

Teeth grinding

Problem: Your teeth grind or clench together at night or in times of stress. Grinding puts pressure on the teeth and wears down their protective enamel. Over time, you can end up with short teeth that shift out of alignment. If you’re a frequent teeth grinder, your teeth can even chip and crack.

Solution: Talk to Dr. Carver about fitting you for a custom-made night guard. A night guard protects your teeth while you sleep and reduces clenching. It also relieves pressure from the temporomandibular joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Gum disease

Problem: Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums caused by plaque. Without treatment, it can permanently damage your gum tissue and tooth-supporting structures, leading to bite problems and even facial changes. Without the support of your gums, your teeth can start shifting in different directions.

Solution: In addition to scheduling a dental exam and teeth cleaning, you should wear an orthodontic retainer to hold your teeth in place. Wearing a retainer helps prevent your teeth from shifting any further.

Tooth loss

Problem: Losing a permanent tooth is tricky. When an adult tooth falls out, your remaining teeth begin shifting into the empty space to compensate for the loss. Because your teeth will start moving, they can change your entire bite and lead to crooked teeth.

Solution: If you have a missing adult tooth, the Stellar team may refer you to another specialist for a dental bridge or implant. In the meantime, though, it’s crucial that you wear a retainer to stop your teeth from moving out of place.


Problem: The way your teeth erupt is genetic. If you’re prone to shifting teeth, they can move back into place after braces.

Solution: Additional orthodontic therapy, such as a retainer, can prevent shifting. After an orthodontic exam, Dr. Carver can recommend the right treatment for you.

Poor retainer use

Problem: After your braces are removed, you must wear your retainer for at least 4 months all day, every day. Some patients even need 12 months before they can take theirs off. A retainer holds your teeth in place, so they won’t shift.

Solution: Make sure you wear your retainer as often as recommended. We know how hard you worked to achieve a straight smile, and we want to ensure that it stays that way!

To schedule a free orthodontic consultation with Stellar Family Orthodontics today, call or schedule an appointment online!