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Help, I’m Wearing my Orthodontic Retainer, but my Teeth are Moving!

Beecroft Orthodontics LAST UPDATED: APRIL 25, 2017

When you've gone through the lengthy process of treatment with braces, it's a great sigh of relief when those braces come off and you can finally show off those pearly whites. Wearing an orthodontic retainer is just par for the course, the final stage of treatment that will help you to preserve those straight teeth after all of that time and effort.

FAQ

Orthodontic Retainers and Post-Braces Care: What if Your Teeth Move?

You need to follow your orthodontist's instructions to the letter and wear that retainer for as long as is specified. If you've noticed some shifting after your braces come off, even while using your retainer, don't be alarmed. It's all a part of the process.

Can I Expect Some Movement in the Initial Period After the Braces Come Off?

When your braces come off, movement is to be expected. Your gums are going to start to adjust, becoming healthier as you can finally give yourself excellent oral hygiene once more. In addition, your teeth will actually start to settle once the wires and brackets are removed. They'll come together in a natural way. This shifting or settling is generally more noticeable in the back or on the sides. Shifting should not be as obvious in the most important area, the front that is the first thing everyone sees.

What Are Other Factors that Affect Movement After Your Braces are Removed?

Even though you are wearing your retainer, you may still see minor changes in the alignment of your teeth for a variety of reasons. If you are still growing, your jaw will be changing and this may alter the appearance of your teeth. You also need to pay attention to your tongue. If you are in the habit of pressing your tongue against your teeth, it may cause shifting. Do your best to avoid any unnecessary pressure on your teeth. You should not see any major alterations. Remember that your body is going to change as you age and that includes your mouth. As your jaw adjusts, shifts, or moves over the course of the coming years, you may see slight alterations in the appearance of your teeth as well.

Should I Keep Wearing My Retainer and See My Orthodontist?

The main thing you need to remember is that your retainer is a must. You have put in the time and invested a great deal of money in getting that beautiful smile. In order to have the most promising results after you've had orthodontic treatment, keep wearing your retainer for the length of time per your orthodontist's instructions. If you are concerned about any shifting in your teeth, make an appointment with our orthodontist specialist at Beecroft Orthodontics. An adjustment in the type of retainer you are wearing may be a remedy to the problem. Your orthodontic specialist will be able to answer all of your questions and assist you in whatever way possible to make sure you keep a beautiful smile for years to come.

Contact Us Now!

We at Beecroft Orthodontics hope that we have done enough to clarify the difference between the two. For any further consultations or if you would like to utilize our services, do not hesitate to call us. We eagerly await the chance to guide you on the journey back to dental wellness.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Help, I’m Wearing my Orthodontic Retainer, but my Teeth are Moving!

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Diastema; Causes and Treatments

LAST UPDATED: JULY 29, 2016

What is the Best Way to Fix Spaces or Gaps in Between the Teeth?

“What’s your No. 1 concern?” I ask patients.

“I’ve got a space between my two front teeth,” they reply.

This conversation is common.

Sometimes, they’ve dealt with for a while and thought, “Okay, I’m ready to get this fixed.” Other times, it’s a recent concern that pops up.

Teeth Gaps FAQ

What Causes the Spacing in Between Your Teeth?

The No. 1 cause for spacing in between the front two teeth, which is a little bit more common, is a low muscle attachment. A muscle attaches your upper lip to your gums allowing your upper lip to be mobile. It causes your lip to be fixated; otherwise you could pull your upper lip over your nose. Everyone’s muscle attaches a little differently. On some people, the muscle attaches lower than normal--right in between the two front teeth. When that happens, you’re more prone to have a space develop. Anytime you eat, talk, chew, and move your upper lip, you pull that muscle. This causes a force, pulling those two front teeth together. If you don’t have a space anywhere except in between your two front teeth, chances are you have a low muscle attachment.

How do you fix it? There are different methods, depending on how the teeth fit together and the size of the space.

If it’s a minor space that just started to open up, or just a crack or hair size, the easiest fix is with a regular retainer. It will pull the teeth together and push them back to where they need to be within a week or two. This works best when patients had treatment before, but the spaces opened again. Or, maybe they lost their retainers, and the spaces in between the teeth decided to open up again. With these cases, we can typically fix the spaces with a retainer in a couple weeks.

The Space

If the space is larger, we have to think about how the teeth come together. If you can imagine a big gap or space in between the front teeth, we pull those together. But, the teeth don’t come together or just slide together, but come back. That’s just the nature of closing the teeth. If we were just to pull the teeth together, you can imagine the spaces on the other sides of the teeth. So, in order to close that space, keep the spaces closed on the back sides of the teeth, we actually pull the teeth slightly inwards. We won’t pull them enough to the point where you would notice the teeth changing position or a change of profile, but just enough to affect your bite.

Sometimes due to the way the top and bottom teeth come together, there isn’t a lot of overbite but a lot of spacing. Then, you will actually need lower braces, even if your lower teeth are completely straight, because we pull those upper teeth back. We need to put on lower braces to get those teeth in position, causing everything to fit together nicely.

How Do you Keep the Space Closed?

1.) Surgery. A gum specialist can remove the muscle attachment and put it in a different place. This is a long-term fix. But, many patients don’t want a surgical procedure for their teeth to stay the way they want, so there’s another option.

2.) Gluing a wire behind the teeth to act as a permanent retainer.  The wire’s small, smooth, and low-profile, keeping the teeth together. But, it takes more diligence to keep it clean, requiring flossing under it like you would the braces. Fortunately, it’s just on your two front teeth. When you have a low muscle attachment, the wire keeps the teeth together once the space is closed.

How to Get Your Best Smile

While a smile is the best thing you can wear, some people find themselves self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. If crooked or misshapen teeth make you want to hide your smile, our team of orthodontists in Stafford is here to help! We know just what it takes to bring out the beautiful smile in anyone, and will work to do whatever is necessary to give you a grin you’ll be proud to show! Contact us today and let us get you started on the road to a beautiful smile.

Beecroft Orthodontics

239 Garrisonville Rd. Suite #101 Stafford,Virginia

Phone: 540-659-6300 Fax: 540-288-0706

Diastema; Causes and Treatments

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Orthodontic Expanders and Lower Jaw

Can Orthodontic Expanders be used on the Lower Teeth to Avoid Extractions?

Beecroft Orthodontics

An orthodontic expander, also commonly referred to as a "palate-widening device," is commonly used on the top teeth to create space in between the teeth. The device, which is secured around one tooth on each side of the top of the mouth, gradually creates space in the top of the teeth through the course of a few weeks or months. By spacing out the palate, the teeth have more room to shift, which is ideal for patients who plan to get braces. Because the orthodontic expanders create more room at the top of the teeth, it lowers the chances of needing to extract teeth as a method of creating space as well. Since orthodontic expanders are successfully used to create room on the upper teeth, can't the same method be used to resolve crowding with the bottom?

An orthodontist is able to use an expander device on the upper teeth because of the mid-palatal suture in the upper arch of our mouths. The palate can be expanded if there is soft cartilage in the suture. Each time the expander is activated, either at home or by an orthodontist specialist, a gap between the front teeth develops as the teeth space out. But when an expander is used on the lower arch of the teeth, there is no such suture, which doesn't allow them the chance to expand.

The lower arch of the teeth have plates, but they are not similar to that of the upper teeth. They are near the joints, which doesn't allow the palate to widen. The teeth may shift and move, but it will not be a result of a widened palate creating additional space. However, an alternative to the expander device is a a removable retainer device, which has an expansion screw built in, similar to the palate expanders. While there are several alternate ways for the lower arches of teeth, it's important to realize that this will not be shifting bones, but rather just "tipping" teeth. Some orthodontists may even attempt to place springs in the lower arch with wires on the back of the teeth to get them to space out.

If these methods aren't available to you, extraction may be your only option to create space in the lower arch. The dentist typically removes two to four teeth to create the space needed, and the area will be numbed with anesthesia beforehand. The recovery time for extracted teeth is fairly quick, and you will be sent home with gauze and pain relievers to help you get through the following days. The dentist or orthodontist may recommend you only eat soft foods in this time. Your teeth may begin to gradually move on their own once the area has healed.

If you have additional questions about expansion devices, flaring and tipping the teeth, or your options for creating space in the lower arch of your teeth, contact our orthodontist at Beecroft Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation and determine which method of treatment is the right one for you and your smile.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Orthodontic Expanders and Lower Jaw

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