I have noticed that my front tooth is shifting out of place. I think it is very noticeable and I’m wondering if it has something to do with the fact that my dentist pulled one of my back molars. It was the upper, second molar in back that was removed about a month ago now.
Do you have any recommendations at this point? Also, is the shifting related to the tooth extraction?
Thank you for any information you have about the matter.
-Paul in Ohio
Thank you for your question. Here is what is happening with your case. Whenever a tooth is extracted, the bone that surrounds the area will start to be resorbed. This occurs because the body realizes that the bone isn’t required at the extraction site any longer to keep the tooth root in place. So, it takes the minerals and redistributes them for use in other parts of the body. Typically, the bone loss and degeneration will start to take place after approximately six months. When the tooth is no longer in place, the surrounding ones may shift as a consequence. But, it sounds like your shifting is taking place much sooner.
The best way to explain the process is that our teeth work together as partners. So, if one is removed, the other teeth shift. The bulk of the shifting occurs within the first few years after an extraction. Then, the teeth will likely stay put. The distance of the shifting varies between patients. Some patients don’t experience any shifting. While others will experience shifting teeth, especially for the teeth adjacent to the extraction site. The teeth may drift into the empty space, but it all depends on your bite and occlusion. Occlusion is how your teeth come together, when we swallow or chew, and even while we are sleeping. So, all of those factors play a role in how far and where the teeth may shift.
One way to prevent any shifting is to have the missing tooth replaced. This will prevent shifting of the teeth and any occlusion problems. Also, if the tooth is replaced it will prevent the teeth surrounding the extraction from shifting laterally, which may cause them to become loose over time. The best treatment to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. It is a permanent solution and is surgically implanted into your jawbone. A dental implant looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth.
Since you are dealing with a back molar, it is also important to realize you may need a sinus lift as well, since you may not have enough bone in the upper jaw to successfully place the implant, without it penetrating the sinus. In some cases, patients don’t get a second molar replaced since it is all the way in the back of your mouth. However, since you are already experiencing shifting after only a month, you should discuss your options and the best course of treatment with your dentist. It may also be in your best interest to get a second opinion from an implant dentist. Not every general, family dentist has the extensive training and experience to be successful with dental implants.
Thank you for reaching out. Hopefully, this information is helpful as you move forward and is helpful to others who are weighing out the pros and cons of getting a tooth extracted, as well as the benefits of dental implants.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.