Many patients don't know that their teeth can shift positions once their braces are removed. Today, our dentists in Airdrie give you advice on ways you can keep your teeth straight after your braces come off.
Can Teeth Shift Once Braces Are Removed?
Braces and other orthodontic treatments can be used to help straighten your teeth by shifting them into their prescribed positions. After you have finished your treatment and you no longer need your braces, you get to enjoy a straighter smile. But, you need to remember that since the barrier the braces provided is no longer there, your teeth could start to shift out of position.
Even though shifted teeth aren't usually noticeable, some situations may need to be addressed by your dentist or an orthodontist.
Erupting Wisdom Teeth
While the majority of people get their wisdom teeth removed when they are in their teenage years, anyone that has braces before their wisdom teeth erupt has to monitor for when their wisdom teeth emerge, so they can be extracted when/if they start crowding other teeth.
Whether a tooth is lost as a result of injury, decay, or another cause, it can impact the teeth around it as they begin to compensate and move to fill the gap. To prevent this from happening, a dentist will recommend a dental implant or partial denture.
Also known as periodontal disease, this progressive condition impacts the gums, teeth, and potentially even the jaw bone. As gums recede, so does the foundation your tooth is grounded in. Severe periodontal disease can even lead to loss of jaw bone – and teeth.
Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth
Also called bruxism, this issue generally affects people that are feeling stressed – they might clench their bottom and top teeth together or grind them, which could result in gum recession.
When people have less gum tissue, their teeth won't be as secure as they once were, potentially making them more susceptible to movement.
Protecting Your Teeth After Braces
Though the above circumstances are real threats to your straighter smile, the good news is that preventive methods can help. Now that you’ve invested in straightening your teeth with braces, make that work last by using these tips and tricks:
Wear Your Retainer as Prescribed
Many patients need to wear a retainer after their braces are removed. The easiest way to keep your teeth from shifting after your braces come off is to regularly wear your retainer as prescribed.
The retainer may be either fixed or removable. If your retainer is removable, it will be up to you to wear it as prescribed (which at first, will likely be all the time, except when eating, brushing, or flossing). After a while, your orthodontist may say you can cut back to wearing your retainer just at night.
Maintain Optimal Oral Health
It doesn't matter how old you are or what stage your orthodontic treatment is currently in, the fact is that having a good oral hygiene routine will do a lot to help promote optimal oral health and prevent tooth decay, which could eat at your teeth, potentially damaging their shape.
If decay occurs, the rest of your teeth may shift around it. You can decrease your risk of tooth decay by brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly every day and by regularly attending dental checkups so your dentist can make sure your teeth are healthy.
During the first 6 months after you get your braces off, we recommend visiting your dentist regularly, and every 9 months after that, to help ensure your teeth are where they need to be– and to give your dentist a chance to inspect your retainer and make any required adjustments.
Act Fast If Your Teeth Shift
If you notice your teeth are shifting, it’s important to take action right away by contacting your orthodontist or dentist for an appointment.
There are various reasons that can make your teeth shift, even if you are wearing your retainer as you are supposed to and staying committed to your treatment plan.
Perhaps your retainer is damaged, or no longer fits properly as a result of not wearing it enough. If your retainer is permanent, ensure the wire stays in place and that none of the bonds have been released from your teeth, which may cause misalignment. Your braces provider (orthodontist or dentist) can repair or replace your retainer, to ensure your teeth don’t move any further.
Another reason teeth move is that wisdom teeth are emerging, which can cause all your teeth to shift to make room for them. If this is the case, the wisdom teeth will need to be extracted.