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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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Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 28, 2017

How Long Should Someone Wear a Retainer after Braces are Removed?

It’s the first question a patient asks after their braces come off, we've celebrated the momentous occasion, and handed him a retainer: How long do I have to wear my retainer?

It’s a good and valid question.

I’ll highlight the type of retainer used most often, why retainers are so important and how long you need to wear them.

FAQ

When are retainers used most often?

Orthodontists use the clear plastic retainers most often. Even though there are retainers with a metal wire that go across the front of the teeth, there’s nothing worse than getting your braces off and having an orthodontist put a metal wire in your mouth, saying, “You have to wear this full time for a few months.” So, we use the clear plastic retainer, which fits snuggly around the teeth. It won’t allow the teeth move or turn and, it doesn’t irritate the tongue and lips. When it comes to speaking it usually only takes a day or two to adjust.

 

 

Why are retainers so important?

Retainers are important because when you get your braces off, they moved the teeth into a position they’re not naturally accustomed to. Your teeth were crooked for a reason. Most likely, your mouth and its natural habitat (your tongue, lips and cheeks) caused your teeth to go into the position they were in initially. Now we've put the teeth in almost an unnatural position, a position they didn't want to be in at first. So the teeth and mouth have to adapt to the change. The retainer keeps teeth in place as the tongue, lips and cheeks adjust to their placement. And, the teeth reorganize themselves in the bones and almost “solidify.”

How long should you wear a retainer?

We ask you to wear your retainer full-time for three months, when the teeth tend to move the quickest. You can take the retainer out to eat, to brush your teeth, and for special occasions (i.e., big dates and public speeches). But other than that, you should wear it at least 22-23 hours a day. You’ll notice if you take it out, the teeth will move quickly. After about three months, if everything looks good, we’ll switch you to nighttime wear. Then, you don’t have to worry about taking the retainer in and out at lunch, school, or work. You can just pop it in when you go to bed, take it out in the morning, and your teeth should remain in place.

Do you have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life?

If you want a 100% guarantee that your teeth won’t budge, the only option is to wear the retainer. Some people can eventually stop wearing their retainers. Others will wear retainers more, due to teeth placement and the natural environment of the mouth. After about a year of wearing the retainers at night, I tell patients, “Now it’s your turn to be the orthodontist.” When you take the retainer in and out, you want it to feel passive on your teeth. You don’t want that tight feeling to let you know your teeth moved during the day and you need to wear your retainer more.

If you have that passive feeling when taking the retainer in and out, then you can wear it less and slowly wear it off . You can go from wearing it once a week to a couple of times a month to once a month, but, I caution you to always keep it around and try it on to ensure that passive feeling isn't gone. Unfortunately, if you do see movement, it’s usually too late to fix it with the retainer.

Overall, most people are okay with wearing retainers at night. After all, why not continue wearing the retainers at night, so you know the years spent getting your teeth really nice wasn't a total waste? Let’s face it--there’s nothing worse than having a patient return, (after working so hard to have his teeth look nicer) because his teeth shifted from not wearing the retainer enough.

Feel free to contact Beecroft Orthodontics whenever you want information or help regarding any oral problem you might be experiencing.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

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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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