How Soon Do Teeth Shift After Extraction?

Tooth loss cannot only affect your smile, but it can impact your bite and appearance. If you don’t replace one or more missing teeth, your remaining teeth may shift to fill the space in your mouth.

If you have recently had a tooth extracted, or are scheduled to do so, you are likely concerned about its oral health complications. Keep reading to find out how long it takes teeth to shift and how you can stop it.

Why Do Teeth Shift?

tooth extraction shifting

Your teeth will shift throughout your life, even if you haven’t experienced tooth loss. Every day your teeth will experience various stresses, such as chewing and talking. Even coughing, smiling, and sneezing can result in your facial and mouth muscles moving, which places extra pressure on your natural teeth. The small stresses can result in minor changes to its alignment, which is why many people wear braces in adulthood.

However, teeth extraction and gum disease can cause more substantial movement throughout your life, which can affect your dental health, bite, and appearance. For example, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can weaken your gums and cause shifting teeth or tooth loss.

How Long Will It Take for My Teeth to Shift?

As mentioned, your teeth will shift slightly throughout your life. However, if you have had a tooth or teeth extraction, the surrounding teeth may shift to fill the space. There is no time length when this will occur, as it could happen over a matter of months or years.

Different factors can determine tooth movement following an extraction, such as:

  • The tooth’s position in the arch
  • Your age
  • Your oral health
  • The position of the teeth in the opposing arch

Teeth often drift towards the midline, and a single-rooted tooth may rotate slightly. Talk to your dentist to learn more about how the loss of a specific tooth could affect your smile. For example, you’re more likely to experience shifting following the removal of an incisor or canine tooth.

Will Wisdom Teeth Extraction Cause Shifting?

tooth extraction shifting

A wisdom teeth removal is unlikely to cause your teeth to shift. Many patients don’t tend to experience alignment issues after the procedure. Your dentist may even recommend the extraction of a wisdom tooth (third molar), as it can remove some of the pressure off your teeth to prevent movement in the future. However, always visit your dentist if you experience any pain or misalignment after a wisdom tooth extraction.

How to Stop Teeth from Shifting After an Extraction

Shifting teeth will change your alignment, bite, and smile, and it can cause bone loss that can lead to premature aging, which may affect your self-esteem. Therefore, it is natural you might want to learn how to stop teeth from shifting after an extraction.

Dental implants are without a doubt the best way to prevent your teeth from shifting. It is a titanium screw inserted into your jawbone to fill the space of the missing tooth, and it serves as an artificial tooth root. An oral surgeon will then send you to a dentist’s office to receive an abutment and crown over the implant. The prosthetic tooth will both look and function as a natural tooth, and it can prevent surrounding teeth from drifting.

A dental bridge is another option to consider. It requires two or more dental crowns and a false tooth to fill the space of the missing tooth. It is either cemented to your surrounding natural teeth or by using a dental implant.

Partial dentures are another alternative to consider. The removable device is similar to a retainer, but it has false teeth attached and will clasp onto your natural teeth. Your local dental services can provide advice on the best option for your long-term dental health.

How Can I Prevent a Tooth Extraction in the Future?

Good dental care is the best way to prevent teeth extraction in the future. To do so, you must brush your teeth twice per day for two minutes each time using fluoride toothpaste. Also, you must floss at least once per day to remove plaque and decrease your risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Your lifestyle choices can determine your oral health, too. For example, you can prevent dental issues by drinking more water, avoiding sugary or acidic foods, and stopping smoking. Also, you must consult your dentist if you are grinding or clenching your teeth, as this can place unnecessary pressure on your teeth. As a result, your dentist may correct your bite by creating a custom night guard or mouth splint.

What’s more, you must attend regular dental appointments for an exam to review your oral health and stop a problem in its tracks. Talk to your dentist about how often you should schedule a dental examination and cleaning, as your dental health will determine the recommended frequency.

Of course, if you experience an oral health issue at any point, such as a cavity or a chipped, loose, or broken tooth, you should attend our emergency dentist Asheville office for an exam and treatment. Act quickly to increase the likelihood of saving a natural tooth.


Losing a tooth is bound to be upsetting. You will not worry about the damage it can cause to your smile, but you may fear how it will affect your bite and physical appearance due to shifting teeth. 

While shifting can occur after a tooth or teeth extraction, there is no set time length. Yet, your age, lifestyle, and the tooth’s position will determine the movement. For example, most people will not experience shifting when removing a wisdom tooth; however, they are more likely to experience shifting if removing an incisor or canine tooth.

If you would like to learn how to stop teeth from shifting and make a decision that is right for your smile and oral health, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Biltmore Avenue Family Dentistry. 

We can provide various dental services to stop teeth from drifting, such as implants and bridges. Also, we can offer preventative treatments to care for your natural teeth and stop a problem in its tracks, from dental cleanings to fillings.