If you have or are considering getting braces you may not be aware that your teeth can actually shift after orthodontic treatment. Our Ontario dentists share some advice on how you can help keep your teeth straight after you have completed your orthodontic treatment with braces.
Is It True That Teeth Can Shift After Having Braces?
Braces help straighten your teeth by guiding them into the correct positions. When your treatment time is up and your braces are removed, it’s time to enjoy your straight teeth. But, keep in mind that because the barrier created by the braces is no longer present, your teeth may begin to shift out of position.
While typically any shifting of teeth will not be noticeable, there may certain situations in which you should be seen by your orthodontist.
Why Your Teeth Might Move After Your Orthodontic Treatment
Your Wisdom Teeth Erupt
Though most people have their wisdom teeth removed during their teenage years, anyone who wears braces prior to the eruption of their wisdom teeth should watch for them coming in, so they can be extracted if and when they begin to crowd other teeth.
You Experience Tooth Loss
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.
You Are Affected By Gum Disease
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.
You Frequently Clench or Grind Your Teeth
Also referred to as bruxism, this condition typically affects people who are feeling stressed – they may clench their top and bottom teeth together or grind them, which can lead to gum recession.
Less gum tissue means the teeth will not be as secure as they were before, which can leave them more susceptible to movement.
What Are Some of The Ways That You Can Prevent Teeth Shifting?
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
Typically a retainer becomes an everyday part of your life once your braces are off. Wearing your retainer regularly as prescribed is the easiest way to keep your teeth from shifting after you have completed orthodontic treatment.
When it comes to your retainer, you may have one that is removable or one that is fixed in place. 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 Excellent Oral Health
No matter what age you are or what stage of orthodontic treatment you are at, one constant is that maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine will go a long way to promoting oral health and preventing tooth decay, which can eat away at your teeth and damage 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 thoroughly on a daily basis, and attending regular dental checkups to help keep your teeth 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.
Take Action If Your Teeth Shift
If you notice your teeth are shifting, it’s important to take action right away by contacting your orthodontist for an appointment.
The shift may be occurring for a number of reasons, even if you are sticking to your treatment plan and wearing your retainer as you should.
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 orthodontist 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.