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Reasons for tooth mobility

June 8, 2020

You have started orthodontic treatment a few weeks ago, and now you notice that your teeth are getting loose. Why is it happening? Is it something that you should worry about?

Tooth mobility during orthodontic treatment is normal. 

The roots of the teeth are connected to the surrounding bone by soft tissue, called the periodontal ligament. Normally, without the forces of orthodontic treatment, the periodontal ligament is 0.25 mm wide (that is a tenth of an inch). During orthodontic treatment, the periodontal ligament can quadruple in size and become 1 mm wide. Now the teeth have that much more space to move in.

Tooth mobility is most noticeable in the incisors

The incisors have skinny, single roots and you may notice that they are the most mobile. Molars have large, multiple roots and the mobility may not be as noticeable. Tooth mobility is also exacerbated by the bite. As the teeth move past one another, there may be some heavy bite that could be making the tooth more mobile.

Tooth mobility is more noticeable by patients who have Invisalign

Patients who have braces develop the same amount of tooth mobility as patients who wear Invisalign. However, with braces, the wire “braces” and stabilizes the teeth so the tooth mobility is only noticeable when you go to your orthodontic appointment and the wire is removed. Patients with Invisalign remove their aligners to eat, so they tend to notice the mobility more.

Talk to your orthodontist if you experience tooth mobility

There are many reasons (other than orthodontic treatment) that cause tooth mobility such as periodontal disease, bone loss around the teeth, recession and root damage. In our office, we take digital x-rays to rule out any of these conditions and carefully monitor the teeth to make sure that they move in a healthy way.

The teeth will return to normal within 6 months after the end of treatment

Make sure that you are wearing your retainers according to Dr. MacKenzie’s instructions. Retainers are meant to stabilize the teeth and to keep them in their new, aligned places. Wearing your retainers ensures that your smile stays beautifully aligned.


Orthodontist in Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis, St. Stephen. Braces and Invisalign for children, teens and adults.

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