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How can I keep my teeth straight after braces?

Posted in Orthodontics

Your teeth don't always stop moving after your braces have been removed. In this blog, our Manitoba dentists discuss ways you can keep your teeth straight after your braces have been taken off.

Can my teeth shift after braces?

Braces are able to help you straighten your teeth by guiding them into their fixed positions. When your treatment time is over your braces are taken off and it’s time for your to enjoy your straighter teeth. However, you have to remember that because the barrier the braces built is no longer there your teeth might start shifting out of place.

Most of the time when shifting occurs it shouldn't be noticeable, however, there are some situations that have to be addressed by your dentist or orthodontist. 

Erupting Wisdom Teeth

Even though most people have their wisdom teeth removed when they are teenagers, anyone who has had braces before the eruption of their wisdom teeth should be careful when they do come in so they can be extracted before they start crowding the other teeth.

Tooth Loss

Whether a tooth is lost due to an injury, decay, or another cause, it can affect the teeth around it as they begin to compensate and move to fill in the gap. To keep this from happening, a dentist will likely recommend a dental implant or partial denture.

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, this progressive condition impacts the gums, teeth, and sometimes even the jaw bone. As gums recede, so does the foundation your teeth are grounded in. Severe periodontal disease can even lead to the loss of teeth and jaw bone.

Teeth Clenching or Grinding

Also referred to as bruxism, this condition usually affects people who are feeling stressed – they might 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.

How To Protect Your Teeth After Braces

Though the above circumstances are real threats to your straighter smile, there are preventive measures that can help. Now that you’ve invested in straightening your teeth with braces, make it last by using the following tips and tricks:

Wear Your Retainer as Prescribed

For most patients, wearing a retainer is part of life after braces. Wearing your retainer regularly as prescribed is the easiest way to keep your teeth from shifting after your braces come off.

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 might say you only have to wear your retainer 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 in 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 and regularly attending 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 make sure 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 immediately by contacting your dentist or orthodontist for an appointment.

The shift might be occurring for a variety 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, make sure the wire stays in place and that none of the bonds have been released from your teeth, which could lead to a misalignment. Your dental care provider will be able to repair or replace your retainer, to make sure your teeth don’t move any further.

Another reason teeth move is because your wisdom teeth are emerging, which can make all of your teeth shift in order to make room for them. If this is the case, the wisdom teeth will need to be extracted.

Contact our Manitoba dentists today with any questions or concerns you have about life after braces.

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