Mobile or “Loose” Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment
By Mina Levi, DDS, 10/30/2014

During orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign clear aligners or traditional braces, a patient may feel like their teeth are loose. Many patients feel nervous and confused about this sensation and can have questions like “are my teeth supposed to be loose?” and “why do I feel like my teeth are mobile?” San Francisco Invisalign Dentist Mina Levi DDS explains why teeth are semi-mobile during orthodontic treatment in the article below.

Orthodontics San Francisco Dentist

Tooth movement (from crooked to straight) occurs due to pressure applied to the teeth by the orthodontic device such as traditional braces or Invisalign. This pressure is transmitted to the crown, root, periodontal ligament and bone surrounding the tooth. The slow, continuous application of this pressure moves the teeth efficiently. In the direction the teeth are moving, the periodontal (gum) membrane is squeezed. The bone surface contacting this membrane begins to resorb due to activation of bone cells called osteoclasts (bone removing cells). In the places from which the tooth has moved (its original placement) bone cells called osteoblasts (bone building cells) start rebuilding the bone.

This is the reason that the teeth feel loose during orthodontic treatment, because the ligaments are squeezed and the bone is being removed and re-built around the tooth. Once the orthodontic treatment is finished and the teeth are in the final position, the bone stops rebuilding and stabilizes. Therefore, the feeling of tooth mobility will no longer exist. Even though the teeth are more secure in the bone after the treatment is complete, a retainer is still needed to keep the teeth in this position once appliances are removed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Invisalign or orthodontic treatment, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.