Alpharetta, GA – The day your braces come off can often be counted as one of the best days ever, especially in the life of a teen. You worked hard during those months, listened to everything your orthodontist told you, and love how straight and pretty your new smile is. But, now you think your teeth might be moving…do you have anything to worry about?
“It’s perfectly normal for your teeth to settle once your braces are removed,” says Alpharetta orthodontist Dr. Nima Hajibaik. “While your braces are on, the teeth are held together tightly, but once the braces come off, there is no more force holding them in place. They’ll naturally settle into place, and then the normal forces of your tongue, wear and occlusion will set in.”
Your gums will start to adjust to the new placement of your teeth, and as you are able to better clean your teeth without the wires and brackets, your entire mouth will get healthier. You’ll experience the most shifting in the back or sides of your mouth, but while it might be noticeable to you, it should still be slight movement that won’t have any negative effects on your bite. This slight shift in placement might actually create a better and more natural bite than you had when your braces were on.
As you age, your body changes, so it’s only natural that your mouth will change as well. That is why even if you were blessed with perfectly straight teeth, after a certain age you will notice that you have crowding in your lower teeth.
Additionally, if you have the habit of pressing your tongue against your teeth, over time, this can shift the teeth slightly. Avoid any unnecessary pressure on your teeth, especially in the months immediately following your braces removal as your teeth and gums are still settling.
“The most important thing for orthodontic patients to remember is to wear their retainers as recommended by the orthodontist,” says Dr. Hajibaik. “The most important time to wear your retainer is in the months immediately following removal of your braces.”
Failing to wear your retainer as recommended by your orthodontist can result in teeth shifting to undesirable locations, and in some cases, going back into braces. For patients who are not as disciplined about wearing their retainers, a permanent retainer can be bonded to their teeth.
While you’re wearing your retainer, it’s important to maintain regular visits with your orthodontist. Dr. Hajibaik can check for abnormal tooth movement, and make adjustments in your retainer or recommend another treatment if needed. If you have concern about tooth movement once your braces have been removed, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hajibaik to discuss your concerns.