Do Teeth Shift with Age?

May 17, 2017 5:00 pm

multigenerational african american family

When we think of aging, we think of wrinkles and gray hair. But your teeth may also be affected as the years go by.

Teeth Spread Apart

Teeth can spread apart when a muscle in the front of the mouth relaxes as we age. Periodontal disease, caused by bacteria living under gum tissue, can also lead to spreading. The bacteria cause inflammation and the destruction of the bone which holds the teeth in, resulting in a flaring of the front teeth that can cause them to space apart. The spread could also be the result of an unconscious oral habit like tongue thrusting or nail biting, or bite collapse due to the loss of some of your back teeth.

Teeth Overlap

As we age, our teeth sometimes start to move, shifting the midline as our jaw bone changes. The midline is, of course, the middle line of the teeth and the ideal positioning of teeth is on either side of the midline to be symmetrical. When your jaw bone changes with age, this can make the teeth crowd towards the middle and overlap.

Teeth Collapse

Teeth can collapse inwardly if you have gapped teeth, don’t replace a missing tooth, or if your teeth are severely worn down. This alters the structure of your teeth, but can also change your facial features and jaw position. Like most other issues, poor oral health can contribute to teeth collapse.

It’s interesting to note that if you had orthodontic treatment when you were younger, it’s actually more common for your teeth to shift slightly. This can happen because you neglect to wear your retainer, you grind your teeth, or you don’t treat underlying oral problems like gingivitis that can lead to crooked teeth if gone untreated.

So how can we fix these problems or stop them in their tracks?


Nightguards are for people who grind their teeth at night, a condition known as bruxism. You might not even realize you are doing it! We fit nightguards specifically to your teeth so you can sleep comfortably while protecting your teeth from harmful grinding.


If some of your teeth have cosmetic flaws like gaps or crookedness, porcelain veneers can fix all of that and more with a natural look and feel. Veneers are a wafer-thin material that we place on the front side of the tooth, and they are a permanent solution.

Regular Checkups

Perhaps most importantly, keeping up with your oral health is the best way to keep any shifting at bay. Be sure you’re coming in for regular checkups and practicing good dental hygiene at home!

Whether you are looking to fix an already existing issue or want to keep teeth shifting at bay, call us to make an appointment. At Henson Family Dental, our commitment is to provide you with the best treatment to give you the smile of your dreams.