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Teeth Shifting After Braces? Heres Why

June 22, 2021

Why Are My Teeth Shifting After My Braces Were Removed?

Uh oh! It’s been a few years since you’ve completed orthodontic treatment, and you’re wondering why your teeth are shifting after having braces. Did you know the #1 reason this occurs is due to the lack of retainer wear? Retainers are the only way to prevent your teeth from wanting to go back into their old position. If you are not wearing your retainer regularly after braces, your teeth may want to shift for various reasons.

Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding or clenching your teeth can be very destructive. Not only does it wear down the enamel on your teeth, but it can also result in shorter teeth and bite/facial changes. Grinding puts unnecessary pressure on your teeth which causes them to shift in different directions.

Tooth Loss

When you have a missing tooth, the teeth on either side will drift into the space causing total misalignment. This is why it is always good to replace the missing tooth with an implant, fixed bridge, or removable partial. At the very least, wearing a retainer every night will prevent teeth from shifting.

Periodontal Diseaseteeth shifting after braces graphic

Periodontal disease occurs when the gums surrounding your teeth become so damaged it eventually destroys the bone supporting your teeth. When this occurs, teeth become more mobile, causing them to move in different directions and fall out entirely.


Natural physiologic drift is what happens when teeth move as you age. Your facial bones continue to grow throughout your lifetime, usually resulting in the lower jaw growing forward and becoming narrower. This causes your lower teeth to crow or overlap.


Relapse occurs because teeth have memory and want to move back into their position before you had braces.

Preventing Your Teeth from Shifting

If you want to make sure your teeth do not shift after having braces, you must remember to wear your retainer every night! If you realize you missed a few days and your retainer is no longer fitting properly, call your orthodontist immediately. This could be due to a damaged retainer or your teeth already starting to shift. If the retainer you wear is permanent (bonded), your orthodontist will want to make sure it is still working correctly and hasn’t broken without you being aware.

Orthodontic Arts, your number one Orthodontist in OKC. Our Certified Orthodontist provides the latest and greatest Orthodontic practices to our clients in the OKC and Midtown area. Orthodontic Arts is the best place for child and teen orthodontics as well as adult orthodontics. Be sure to ask about Invisalign and invisible braces! Contact us today at (405) 604-3745 or request an appointment.