How Long Does it Take for Teeth to Shift?

You are here looking for the no BS answer to the question: How Long Does it Take for Teeth to Shift?

How long does it take for teeth to shift? Do the braces move the teeth immediately or within a few weeks or months?

It’s typical for individuals to be curious about these questions before bracing their teeth to get the right alignment.

You need to know the procedure and factors affecting the teeth movement before you go for teeth shifting.

How Long Does it Take for Teeth to Shift?

Although you will barely notice it, our teeth are always on the move. Even after wearing braces or any orthodontic treatment, your teeth will continue shifting slightly for all your life.

You may get a variety of answers to your query. Usually, your teeth shifting begins within a few days of bracing. This is because the tooth movement is stimulated by a few psychological changes in the jaw bone.

The 1-mm tooth shifting should be done over four weeks to make it safe and secure for you.

In a full-arch case, this movement to time ratio varies based on starting placement of the tooth, the desired movement, and the softness and malleability of the surrounding bones. This rate is also different for different people.

If you have the query about how much time your teeth will get completely aligned, there is no specific and fixed answer to this.

To know the exact time period, you should go for 3D scans and X-rays of your upper and lower teeth, lip position, and facial profile. This will assess the current alignment and give you more accurate information for your query. 

It is recommended to consult a good doctor or practitioner with whom you can communicate frankly. Ask all your doubts and queries and get his consultation on your case.

Factors Affecting Teeth Movement/Shift

The period of teeth movement varies from person to person. It depends on many factors such as age, crowding, teeth grinding, quality of bone, and your metabolic rate. These have been explained in detail below:

  • Age- Younger people have relatively soft bones and higher metabolic rates, and hence the teeth tend to move faster. Adult people with denser bone and poor metabolism experience a slower rate of teeth movement.
  • Crowding- More crowding requires more time to straighten and arrange your teeth. Also, more crowding leads to more friction for the teeth to overcome and free themselves.
  • Medications- Many medications may slow down the rate of teeth shift, for example, those for bone treatment.

Why Teeth Straightening is Time Consuming?

While many people may desire instant and magical teeth straightening within a fraction of seconds or hours, the reality is that it takes time. 

This is because your orthodontist aligns your teeth set in the jaw bone into correct order and alignment using a moderate force (this is why bracing is done) to reduce the pain in the process. 

Then, gradually, teeth start moving into the desired alignment, making the whole process go on for a long time.


How long does it take for teeth to shift doesn’t really have a definite answer? For 1mm of shifting, a time of 4 weeks is required.

This period may vary for you. To get an accurate time in your case, you should consult your dentist for detailed scans and X-rays. 

This will assess the current alignment and give you more precise information for your query. The period greatly depends on several factors like age, crowding of teeth, and medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Teeth Move as We Get Older?

Yes, they do. As you get old, your teeth might start moving towards the front. This can cause crowding and overlapping of teeth. You can prevent this with the help of good and reliable retainers.

Consult your doctor and take his/her advice while selecting a retainer. In case your teeth are crooked, then you can get them corrected by a good orthodontist.

Apart from Braces, What Can Be Done to Improve the Appearance of My Teeth?

There is a variety of aspects to have a harmonious smile, and they are:

  • Size of the tooth
  • Shape
  • Position
  • Color 
  • Proportion

You can shift to the following:

  • Braces
  • Orthognathic jaw surgery,
  • Teeth whitening,
  • Veneers,
  • Gum surgery,
  • Crowns etc.

How Would A Wider Dental Arch Change My Appearance?

Having a smaller arch will reduce the number of visible teeth while you smile. Being wider makes your smile more beautiful. You can use dental veneers for this. But remember, while a smaller arch narrows your smile, a wide arch makes your smile too toothy.

So choose the procedures which help you to have a perfect smile and appearance.

Why Do Braces Take So Long?

Teeth are connected to the jawbone. Moving them requires pressure and can be a long process, especially for older people. In addition, rushing the process can adversely damage the bone, teeth and gums.

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