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The Movement of Teeth
Delaney Widen
Head of Patient Experience

That’s weird. What makes teeth shift? 

There is no one reason why teeth move over time because there are so many factors. They can join forces and shift your teeth over time. For example, ions that are released from salivary glands that are found underneath your tongue cause plaque build up behind your lower teeth, which leads to the continuous movement of those teeth.

Tooth Movement Factors Include: 

  • Aging (sorry, it’s true)
  • Jaw growth or shrinkage over time
  • Injury or impact
  • Dental procedures
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Natural tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Bone loss
  • Orthodontic care (nudge, nudge, wink wink)

Okay, so how do they move? 

Teeth can move in all sorts of ways. Here’s a breakdown of the types of movements:

  • Tipping: The crown of the tooth is tipped forward or backward, without the root of the tooth moving with the crown. When this happens, the crown of the tooth wants to move back toward its original position, since bodily tooth movement wasn’t achieved. This leads to teeth relapsing into their original position after aligners. This is what happens when teeth are moved with aligners without attachments. This is one of the major reasons why mail-order aligners don’t get patients long-term results.
  • Extrusion: The tooth is being pulled out of the bone, so that the crown of the tooth appears longer, The only way to extrude is with attachments,
  • Translation: This is bodily tooth movement, which means that the crown moves with the root. This is what you need for stable tooth movement, meaning your teeth don’t relapse back into their original position. To achieve this with clear aligners, typically attachments are needed in order for the aligner to have an anchor to move the entire tooth aka translation.
  • Rotation: the tooth rotates around its central axis, with the crown rotating in its current position in the bone.
  • Intrusion: The tooth is pushed toward the bone, so that the crown of the tooth appears shorter,

Teeth are so… versatile. How do I shift my teeth into my dream smile?

Orthodontic treatment is the smartest and safest way to shift your teeth. By receiving expert-led care and treatment plans, you’ll be able to customize your Invisalign experience to best suit your unique needs.

I’m ready. How do I get started?

Woohoo! The first thing we need to do is schedule your consultation. During this time, you’ll meet with a Two Front Treatment Coordinator and your orthodontist to scan your teeth, show you your future smile, and discuss treatment and payment plans. Email to get started.