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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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Overbite: Causes & Treatments

overbite

LAST UPDATED: NOVEMER 29, 2017

What are the most common causes of and solutions for overbites?

Having an overbite is a common problem in the North American culture. In other populations, people are more prone to having underbites where their jaws stick out relative to their upper jaws.

In the United States, the majority of people with bite issues have overbites, meaning the top teeth stick out relative to the bottom teeth. Let’s look at the causes, how to treat overbites and the best time for treatment.

Causes of overbites:

1. Genetics: The genes you got from mom, dad, grandma and grandpa are the No. 1 cause. There are two reasons: 1) Your upper jaw is too developed relative to your lower jaw, sticking out too far. This is uncommon. 2) Your lower jaw is underdeveloped, which is most common.

2. A Habit: You may be a thumb-sucker or sucked on a pacifier when you were younger. Habits are easier to fix because we don’t have to remodel and guide the jaws. We just fix the teeth and bring them back into a proper position.

3. Upper teeth stick out further than the lower teeth: That could just be the position the teeth came in. Again, this is easier to fix by bringing the teeth back into a proper position.

How to Treat Overbites?

Several years ago, it was more popular to use headgear to fix large overbite problems, but I don’t like using it. Headgear attaches to the braces in the back of the upper teeth, pulling back the upper jaw. But, the problem is not usually in the upper jaw. Usually the upper jaw is fine. The reason you have an overbite is the lower jaw is set back or detruded. So, if you use headgear to fix an overbite, you cause the upper jaw to match the lower jaw, which is detruded. So, now your teeth fit together, but you have a detruded upper jaw and a detruded lower jaw, which doesn’t look nice aesthetically. This gives you a flat facial appearance, looking like you have fake teeth. So, instead of headgear, we want to correct this problem by encouraging the lower jaw to grow and match that upper jaw.

We can make changes a couple ways:

1. Use elastics: Elastics attach, depending on which way we want the teeth and jaws to move, from the bottom braces to the top ones or vice versa. This lets the upper jaw come out and the lower jaw go in. In cases where there’s an overbite, we would do the opposite because we want the lower jaw to go out and the upper jaw to come in. We use elastics in less severe cases. In severe cases, we have other ways to help guide jaw growth.

2. Use an appliance: If someone has a large overbite, with the lower jaw set back quite far, we use a spring that sits inside the mouth and cheeks. This allows you to chew and open/close your mouth normally. The spring is constantly working to put out a constant amount of force 24 hours a day. The opening and closing motion will put more force on the teeth, allowing the lower jaw to go into a better position. Again, this appliance is used in severe cases where you could stick your whole thumb in between your upper and lower jaw. And, it does speed up treatment quite a bit compared to wearing the elastics.

Photo credit: Send me adrift. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Best time for treatment

It’s hard to make the jaw grow more than it would genetically, but timing wise we can remodel the bones to maximize growth potential. The best time is usually before children hit their peak growth spurt--10-11 years old for girls and ages 11-13 for boys. Before they hit the peak growth spurt, their jaws will grow with their lower jaws growing the most.

If you have an overbite, you may want to consider visiting an orthodontist for a consultation. The orthodontists at Beecroft Orthodontics are always happy to help. Visit them today if you have any oral issues.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Overbite: Causes & 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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