Why Do I Need A Retainer After Braces?

February 1, 2020

Why Do I Need A Retainer After BracesThe day you remove your braces is a huge milestone! You can finally eat all those foods that you’ve been wary of during treatment. However, we want to remind you that although your braces are removed, that doesn’t mean your orthodontic treatment has come to an end. Sometimes even after braces teeth don’t want to stay straight, so there is a second stage of treatment called retention.

What are retainers?

Even as we age our teeth tend to shift regardless of whether or not we’ve had treatment. After braces, it isn’t uncommon for teeth to want to return to their original position once your braces are removed. This makes retainers the key to maintaining all the hard work you’ve already accomplished so far.

For a minimum of two years, your teeth will want to revert back to their original position. Retainers are designed to keep your teeth in place and prevent shifting.

A retainer is a custom-made plastic/acrylic or metal appliance that keeps teeth aligned after orthodontic treatment. A mold of your mouth is made once your braces are removed and the retainer is used to keep your teeth in place. Retainers typically fit the top of the teeth and mouth.

There are two main types of retainers:

  • Hawley retainers are most likely the ones that come to mind when you hear the word retainer. It is an acrylic/plastic piece with a wire that fits around the outside of the teeth to keep them in line.
  • Essix retainers are similar in design and appearance to Invisalign aligners. They are meant to fit over all your teeth and are completely clear.

How long do I have to wear my retainer?

Several factors determine the length of your treatment, and each treatment plan will vary based on the patient’s needs. However, it isn’t a 24/7 commitment that you will have to uphold for the rest of your life. Once your braces are removed, your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer and tell you how long you should wear it and when. You may have to wear it 24/7 for several months, but eventually, you may only need to wear it at night or every few days. Always consult with your orthodontist and follow their advice so your teeth don’t shift back.

If you don’t wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth will likely shift back to their original position and require braces once again depending on how far they have shifted. As mentioned above, the first two years are crucial to keeping the smile for which you’ve worked so hard. Your retainer works to stabilize your bite and help your teeth, gums, and bones adapt to their new position. By wearing your retainer every day and night, you consistently prevent shifting.

If your retainer no longer fits due to shifting, please contact us immediately so we can fit you for a new one. Do not try to fit it over your teeth as you may damage your teeth and mouth.

If you have any questions about the process or your retainer, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today. You have put in so much work and time to get your perfect smile, and we want to help you protect it!

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October and Orthodontics

October and OrthodonticsOctober often symbolizes the start of fall and the holiday season, and for us orthodontists October means National Orthodontic Health Month! During this month, we raise awareness about the benefits of orthodontic treatment and how essential it can be to your overall dental health.

Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents have their child’s smile evaluated by an orthodontist by the age of 8. Between the ages of 7 and 10, children undergo growth spurts that are important to the development of their jaws and oral health. By coming in early, we can evaluate their oral health and ensure that as they grow their smile remains healthy.

Early treatment can prevent conditions from worsening and lower the risk for more complex and costly procedures. Orthodontic care does more than straighten misaligned teeth to improve the appearance of your smile. An improper bite or misaligned teeth can result in an increased risk of tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss as well as affect your jaw’s ability to function properly.

We want to also mention that we treat patients of all ages, and you are never too old or young to come in and start your journey to a brilliant smile.

Our October Orthodontic Tips

The month of October can be full of fun fall activities and events. If you are recently starting your orthodontic journey, you may find that life with an orthodontic appliance such as braces can quickly translate to treading carefully when it comes to food.

If you plan on attending any harvest parties or want to indulge in trick-or-treating, some may not be brace-friendly. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods. This includes caramel, popcorn, chips, gum, taffy, toffee, lollipops, hard candies, and products with nuts. Hard vegetables and fruits such as carrots, corn on the cob, and apples should be cut into smaller pieces.

This may seem like a trick as many of the “good” treats need to be avoided if you wear braces, but it is important that you follow the dietary restrictions associated with orthodontic treatment. These foods could damage the brackets and wires of your appliance which may lead to injury, broken appliances, and emergency treatment, and can lengthen the course of your orthodontic treatment.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Remember after you’ve had your fun, be sure to brush and floss after every meal and snack, especially after eating candy. Use interdental brushes and floss to clean between teeth, brackets, and wires. We also recommend rinsing your mouth afterward with an ADA-approved mouthwash. The last thing we want is a holiday cavity or dental emergency because of poor dental hygiene.

By following dietary restrictions and your orthodontist’s orders as well as remembering to clean your teeth properly, you can keep your treatment on track and reduce your risk for unexpected accidents afterward. If you have any questions about orthodontics and how we can help you or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Overcrowding and How We Can Help You

Overcrowding and How We Can Help YouOvercrowding, also known as dental crowding or crowded teeth, is a common dental condition that refers to when your teeth are unable to grow straight due to a lack of space. When this occurs, your teeth may press together, overlap, and twist out of alignment with some teeth being pushed behind or in front of other teeth.

There are three degrees in which overcrowding is diagnosed:

  • Mild – Mild overcrowding refers to only one tooth being affected and is slightly rotated in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Moderate – Moderate overcrowding is when two or three teeth rotate or overlap in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Severe – Severe overcrowding means several or the majority of the teeth overlap in the upper or lower jaw.

What causes overcrowding?

Teeth should grow straight without crowding or gaps, but we know that is not always the cause. Here are some common factors that can lead to overcrowding:

  • Abnormal tooth growth
  • Excess teeth
  • Genetics may cause teeth to be larger than your jaw can allow, or genetics may lead to a smaller jaw than average
  • Losing primary teeth too early may cause other teeth to shift into the empty space
  • Trauma and injury can fracture the jaw or lead to missing teeth which can cause teeth to shift in the healing process

Signs

If you are unsure if your teeth or your child’s teeth are crowded, there are some signs to look for that may indicate overcrowding, including:

  • Crooked teeth at unusual angles
  • Difficulty brushing and flossing
  • Jaw pain
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Trouble biting or chewing

Often overcrowding can be related to malocclusions or misalignments of the jaw which can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and a possible temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).

Does overcrowding need to be treated?

If left untreated, overcrowding can lead to a variety of oral health problems:

Poor Hygiene

Overcrowded teeth that overlap or twist against other teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss properly, making it easy for plaque and bacteria to build up in the mouth and increases the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath.

Gum Disease

If plaque and bacteria do build up in an overcrowded mouth, this may lead to the development of gum disease. Signs of gum disease include a bad taste in the mouth, bleeding gums, loose teeth, swollen red gums, and gums that pull away from the teeth.

Malocclusions

Failure to correct crowding during childhood can lead to the jaw becoming misaligned in adulthood which can cause headaches, jaw pain, and potentially lead to jaw dysfunctions.

Speech Impediments

Overcrowded teeth can also cause speech difficulties as they can interfere with the ease and clarity of pronouncing certain words. This will depend on the location and severity of the overcrowding. Dental crowding may also cause whistling when talking as air moves through the teeth.

What are my treatment options?

The treatment for overcrowding will depend on the patient’s age and conditioning. Common treatment options for overcrowding include braces, aligners, extractions, and retainers. Braces are the most common treatment for overcrowding, though they can be the lengthiest of treatment options and requires frequent visits to our office to adjust the appliance accordingly. Braces apply constant pressure to your teeth to move them into their proper position.

Aligners, including clear ones such as Invisalign, can correct mild cases of overcrowding. These options are an alternative to traditional braces and are removable, but can be more costly as they need to be replaced every two weeks so that the teeth will shift properly throughout treatment.

In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary for overcrowded teeth, but this is often only in cases of excess teeth. Once the tooth is extracted, we can discuss the best treatment method for you to help guide your teeth into proper alignment.

Retainers are often used after most treatment options for overcrowding to ensure your smile stays in place. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to properly use and care for your retainers so you can get the most out of your treatment.

As experienced orthodontists, we strive to provide you with high-quality care and service. A straight smile doesn’t have to be only a dream…we are here to assist you in achieving a healthy, bright, and beautiful smile! For more information on overcrowding and how we can help or to schedule a consultation, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Back-To-School Orthodontic Tips

Back-To-School Orthodontic TipsEven though the weather may be still hot and sunny, it is time to head back into the classroom for many of our patients! Whether you are preparing a child to go back to school or getting ready yourself, we understand that braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances can make navigating the new school year a little stressful. Not to fear though! Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help to make your back-to-school season smooth and stress-free!

Back-To-School Kit

When you have an orthodontic appliance, we strongly recommend patients brush their teeth after every meal. We understand that this may be tricky while at school, so we always encourage patients to prepare a travel kit for the semester, so that they can freshen up after a quick bite while on the go!

Your kit should include toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss or interdental brushes, lip balm, and dental wax. If you have braces, you might want to pack extra rubber bands if needed. The toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are needed for cleaning and brushing between meals. Wax and lip balm can help to prevent irritation to the lips, gums, and cheeks.

Lunch Bunch Help

One of the biggest challenges for new orthodontic patients is the restrictions to their diet. Certain foods such as hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky ones can damage, break, or get stuck within the appliance.

Certain items on the menu may not be suitable for you in-between classes, so you may need to pack your lunch occasionally or eat mindfully. Even sandwiches may need to be cut into smaller bites to prevent the bread and fillings from clinging to your appliance. If you are packing lunch for your child, be sure to include easy-to-eat treats such as pasta, lean cuts of meat, yogurt, applesauce, cheese, and soft fruits and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water frequently throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to keep your braces and other oral appliances clear of food. Water can rinse food from brackets and wires, and though sodas, sports drinks, and juices can be tempting, they can increase the risk of cavities and buildup in your mouth, so we recommend water as your first choice of beverage!

Sports & Mouthguards

If you plan to play sports this year, make sure you speak to your orthodontist about choosing a mouthguard. Any sport can run the risk of mouth, teeth, and jaw injuries, however, some sports are a greater risk than others such as hockey, rugby, and football.

Mouthguards are cushioning oral appliances made of flexible material that fits snugly over your teeth to help protect against injuries to the teeth and mouth. They also prevent your jaws from coming together fully, reducing the risk of jaw joint injuries and concussion.

You can purchase mouthguards from sports stores or purchase a boil-and-bite type at pharmacies, but be sure you select one that is designed for people with braces or retainers. We can also create a custom mouthguard for you in the office so that you can be sure it fits your mouth perfectly.

It’s normal to feel a little nervous about the new school term, but orthodontic treatment shouldn’t be stressful. A straight and healthy smile can take time, but we hope that with these tips, the school year starts off stress-free! We wish all students and teachers a wonderful start to the year. For more information on how to navigate the school year with orthodontic treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Manual vs. Electric: Which Toothbrush Is Right For You?

Manual vs. Electric: Which Toothbrush Is Right For You?If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you know how important it is to take extra care in brushing your teeth to prevent the buildup of plaque around your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Part of this care begins with choosing the right toothbrush to help keep your teeth and appliances clean. Choosing between the traditional manual toothbrush or an electric-powered brush can be difficult, so we’ve put together a few facts to help you decide.

Manual vs. Electric

Your orthodontic appliances can trap food between your wires, brackets, and teeth easily and increase your risk of building up plaque that will lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so it is important to choose the right toothbrush.

Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes

The traditional manual toothbrushes are more cost-effective compared to electric-powered brushes. Though they may not be as powerful in brush strength, you can control how you brush each tooth, and the convenience of never having to worry about batteries or if your toothbrush is charged can’t be beaten! Plus, replacing a manual toothbrush can be easier and less expensive than their electric counterparts.

Some may argue that electric brushes are better since some models are proven to significantly remove more plaque buildup, but research shows that patients with good oral hygiene routines who use manual toothbrushes have similar results.

Benefits of Electric Powered Toothbrushes

Electronically powered toothbrushes have small brush heads so that you can reach all areas of the mouth easily and are ideal for patients with limited mobility. Some even have varied bristle lengths and widths to clean away areas where food, debris, and plaque may hide. These powerful brushes enable you to remove plaque easier than manual brushes and may even come with different modes such as ones for sensitive teeth, removing stains, and tongue cleaning.

One of the drawbacks to choosing electrotonic toothbrushes is that they are more expensive compared to manual ones. For orthodontic patients, this may be a major factor as braces and other orthodontic appliances can break down bristles fast causing you to need replacement heads more frequently.

Which Is Right For You?

We say the toothbrush best for you is the one you will use. As you can see, both electric-powered and manual brushes are great options for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. Remember to floss between your teeth and brackets carefully.

It can take some time and practice to get used to brushing your teeth with braces, but we are here for you and will give you plenty of information and demonstrate how to properly brush your teeth with whatever brush you select. Always look for a brush that has the ADA seal as products with this seal are tested for safety and effectiveness. If you are unsure which toothbrush is best for you or if you have any questions about our services, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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