115 thoughts on “Answered Questions Page3

  1. Hi i am 15 years old and i want to wear braces but my mom says i have good teeth and thats true but still i want to wear braces can that happen ?? Or are the braces only for people with crooked teeth ??

    1. Hi Sabrina,

      There are certain problems that we correct with braces like crowding, cross bites and deep bites, to name a few. There are some people that do not need braces. For example, if a patient’s jaws grow properly and their teeth come in straight, they may not need braces. I’d advise that you see an orthodontist and after the examination, they will tell you if there is a problem with your bite and what needs to be done.

      Thanks for the question.

  2. Hi,
    I have permanent retainers on my top and bottom teeth. My top teeth do not have good roots so last time my permanent retainer fell out they were really really loose and i could only eat soft food. what would be a more permanent solution to fix all my teeth so I do not have to worry about my teeth falling out?


    1. Dear Caitlin,

      I would advise that you see a periodontist (gum specialist). When you say, “do not have good roots” that means to me that you may have gum disease. Teeth that are mobile usually indicates bone loss from gum disease. I would also advise that you go with a standard hawley retainer than fixed retainers.

      Thanks for the question.

  3. I have been wearing braces for 13months..Next month am gonna remove my braces since gaps are almost closed.But my gums are not that much stronger, so i feel like ill get gaps once i take braces off..
    My question is,
    1.will i get gaps again once i remove braces?
    2.After braces i need to wear retainer as my orthodondist said,Howlong should i wear retainer?

    I am 25yr old now, am worrying if i get gaps again..i am struggling with this braces for 1yr and dont want to wear it anymore…pls help me on this…
    Thanks in advance…

    1. Dear Ramila,

      I advise my adult patients to wear their retainer for years. If you don’t wear your retainers, your gaps will open back up. The idea of retention is to slowly wean the patient off of the retainers to allow natural forces to take over. Adjustments are made to the teeth, occlusal equilibration and enameloplasty, and to the retainers to create a stable functioning occlusion. So after your braces are removed, you continue to see your orthodontist during the retention phase of treatment.

      Thanks for the question.

  4. I’ve had my braces on for about two years now and ill be getting them off in two months, but I’ve realized that my top teeth don’t all connect at all at the bottom. They look straight but the gaps between them all freak me out, especially my two front teeth. Will the dentist do something about that or am I stuck wih this result?

    1. Dear Nicole,

      What you have described is a very common issue with aesthetics, where the teeth are touching at the contact point but to the edge of the tooth, the line angle diverges way from each other resulting in a space.

      Teeth come in different shapes. When you look at the sides of the teeth, some patients teeth are rounded and some patients have teeth with flat sides. People with round shaped teeth have this space problem.

      You need to talk to your orthodontist about this issue now before braces are removed. To correct some of the problem, interproximal enamel reduction can be performed between the teeth making a flat surface. This creates a small space that, when closed, the bottom of the teeth closes some too. It is a small adjustment that can affect the aesthetics.

      I hope I have described this to where you understand.

      Thanks for the question.

  5. My daughter is almost 13 y.o. and had two lower incisors turned in at angle so teeth touch. Last appointment the hygienst said she couldn’t get the colored band around one and left it off. The left lower incisor started to go behind the right at this appointment so the orthodontist told the hygienist to put a spacer between the teeth. My daughter said this was the most painful event in her life. When we left the orthodontist the space between lower incisors was already apparent. A week later now and pain has subsided, but my daughter asked my to look and it looks like the gums are much lower. Does this mean there is going to be bone loss/gum recession…this happened to my son and his root resorption is now not fixable after his braces are off…different orthodontist. Were the teeth moved too quickly?

    1. Dear Gen,

      In my opinion, the teeth were not moved too quickly. Some movements are slow, like intrusion or torque, and some are fast, like extrusion or tipping.

      In the adolescent child, the gum tissue still covers a good lower portion of the incisor. As the patient matures, the alveolar bone matures, thins and lengthens. The gum tissue slowly moves to the cementum-enamel junction (CEJ), where it stops. This is the normal position of the gum tissue. When we move an incisor, sometimes the gum tissue moves to the CEJ quickly, so really no loss has occurred. During treatment you could have one incisor with the gum tissue still covering the lower third of the crown and right beside that incisor, the gum tissue is at the CEJ. Parents and patients pick up on this all the time. That is probably what you have noticed.

      Please talk to your orthodontist about what you have observed. When separators (spacers) are used, they create space immediately and there is a good deal of soreness. I hope I’ve helped.

      Thanks for the question.

  6. I had an underbite growing up and I got it fixed with braces and head gear in 3rd grade. I had braces again in middle school more for cosmetic then anything else. Now I’m a senior in high school and my underbite came back probably during my sophmore year. I realize that the two options would be surgery or braces (i know surgery usually requires braces as well). I was wondering how long though I would need braces? I feel like if I had never had it fixed it would be longer but since i have had it fixed my under bite it isn’t freakish and no one can even notice it (even though I tell myself everyone does) so therefore it wouldn’t be for too long. However I have no clue so I wanted some input. I am really hoping if whether it is in before college, during, or after that the process is more expedited due to previous treatment. FYI I have worn my retainer almost everyday since I got it about 5 years ago(i know it isn’t linked to my jaw/bite but as far as cosmetic treatment the ortho would want to fix had i not worn it)

    1. Dear Brent,

      I’d say you could be ready for surgery in 6 months. The molars need to be banded and the orthodontist needs to work upto a heavy arch wire prior to surgery. Make sure the 3rd molars are extracted at least 6 months prior to orthognathic surgery. If everything goes well, stabilization could take 6 months post surgery. This time line is if everything goes well. You are correct that it should take less time than 2+ years.

      Thanks for the question.

  7. I had been wearing my retainer for several months now, the first few months I wore it regularly but then I became sick and decided not to wear my retainers for about two weeks (horribly bad idea on my part). One of my bottom front teeth shifted backwards gradually and I thought that if I put my retainer back in and wore it 24/7 it would eventually fix itself. The tooth will not shift back completely due to teeth crowding and I was wondering if inter-proximal reduction would help my teeth to fit back into my retainer completely?

    1. Hello,

      Yes Allyson, interproximal reduction would help a lot. That is what retention is all about. Allowing natural forces to take over and adjusting the teeth and retainer to create a stable and functioning occlusion. Talk to your orthodontist about it.

      Thanks for the question.

  8. I have had a retainer for two years and it doesn’t fit in my mouth anymore. Is there’s way to fix that or what should I do?

    1. Dear Kaya,

      It is possible to adjust the retainer to make it fit. Sometimes posterior teeth move slightly towards the tongue. Once, some acrylic is removed, it may fit again. Also, if the wires are bent, the orthodontist can fix them. If the retainer can’t be fixed, then you could have a new one made.

      Thanks for the question.

  9. I have bonding done on my two front incisors, due to me having a gap. i want braces so that the bonding doesnt break. Again. What will occur with the bonding when i get the braces. will it have to be removed or will the bonding break due to the braces in time?

    1. Dear Terrance,

      Before braces are placed, your family dentist or orthodontist would remove the bonding material until ideal tooth proportions are seen. Usually, the bonding is completely removed. Your orthodontic treatment would then close the gap.

      Thanks for the question.

  10. Hey doc,

    I hope your well.
    I’ve had braces now for nearly a month and I’m suspecting that one of my bottom teeth are actually moving the wrong way than supposed to. The bottom teeth were straight before braces but now one of them has moved and don’t look straight anymore. Is this normal?? And will the bottom tooth re-straighten again?

    Thanks for your help

    1. Mick,

      I’m doing well, thank you. In the very beginning of treatment, a lot of movements occur. When we place brackets, they are placed by hand. If a bracket is not just at the right height, it will extrude the incisor slightly and make it look out of alignment. That is what you are noticing. Later, during treatment, your orthodontist will either reposition the bracket into a better position or place a bend in the wire to align the incisor properly.

      Thanks for the question.

  11. Hi! so i just got my braces on about 2 weeks ago, and I’m starting to see small white spots on my teeth, mostly on the top right side. i take very good care of my teeth, i brush in the morning, after school, and before bed. i also floss every night, do a flouride rinse, and typically rinse my mouth with water after i eat something. what could this be and how can i help it?

    1. Dear Rhiana,

      Have your orthodontist look at the white spots. The white spots probably are not decalcification. It could be the adhesive, if it’s close to the bracket because we want the adhesive to flow around the bracket when placed.

      The other idea is that you may be looking at fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development. It appears as white spots. Many patients will have these white spots and nothing needs to be done about it. Again, talk to your orthodontist about the spots.

      Thanks for the question.

  12. Hi, I’m 15 and I just got my braces off yesterday. I won’t get my retainers for about 2 weeks because they need to be made and my orthodontist likes to let the teeth “settle”. I was just wondering if my teeth will get crooked during that time? They kind of hurt right now and my teeth were really crooked before braces.

    1. Hi Lindsay,

      Your orthodontist wants your teeth to come together better by allowing them to move sightly. We call this settling. If a tooth moves too far during the time without the retainers, your orthodontist will move it back with the retainers.

      Thanks for the question.

  13. Hi I’m 13 years old and I I’m wondering how much braces would cost only on my bottom teeth? I have a couple crooked teeth on my bottom and I wanted to know if I needed braces? How long would I have to wear them for

    1. Hi Cameron,

      You will need to see an orthodontist for a consultation to determine what is necessary to correct your crooked teeth. Usually braces on the lower teeth takes about 12 to 18 months. The fee varies from office to office.

      Thanks for the question.

  14. Hi im 13 years old, and ive always hated my teeth. I have perfectly straight teeth, except the thing that i hate is my gap in my two front teeth and i wanna close it. My question is if i do get braces to close it up and get rid of it, what are my chances that it will open back when i take the braces off? Please help me, it’s been a couple year that ive wanted to get rid of it! Thank you

    1. Dear Alexis,

      Gaps normally stay closed after braces. However, if the gap tries to open during retention, there are some things we do to keep it closed.

      Sometimes, the gap opens due to a piece of gum tissue called a frenum. The maxillary frenum, when it develops, can form low on the ridge, between the teeth causing the gap. If this is the case, a frenectomy can be performed to reattach it higher on the alveolar ridge and remove the fibers that are pushing the central incisors apart.

      Also, a fixed retainer can be attached behind the central incisors to keep the space closed. This is basically a small wire bonded to the back side of the central incisors.

      The majority of the time, neither procedure is needed. They are just considered if the space is stubborn and tries to open back up during retention. Your orthodontist can give you more information to your parents after an examination. We close gaps all the time.

      Thanks for the question.

  15. I’m 14 years old. I wear retainers they are fustrating and annoying it is hard for me to speak and they sometimes fall out is there anyway i can quicken my time of retainers?

    1. Hi Derrick,

      It seems with orthodontic treatment, nothing is fast. Retainers are a necessity to create a stable occlusion and they are hard to wear at times. In the beginning, your speach will be affected. After a short period of time, you will be able to speak clearly. Every orthodontist has their patient wear retainers differently. I have my patients wear retainers until they stop growing. I slowly wean them off of the retainers and watch for any movements.

      Since your retainer gets loose, talk to your orthodontist about adjusting your retainer.

      Thanks for the question.

  16. hello, i have my braces for 2 months now. The doctor working on my braces went to america and is saying that it will take her another month to come back.

    Is it pssible for another new dentist or ortho who haven’t met me before to resume working on my braces or only the person who started with me should take care of it?
    I really want someone else to work on it. Please let me know. Thank you.

    1. Hi,

      Yes, you can find someone else to work on your braces, even for a short period of time. You need to call another orthodontist and tell them your situation. It may take a couple of phone calls, but you should be able to find someone that can continue your treatment. You need regular checkups with your braces for hygiene purposes and adjustments.

      Thanks for the question.

  17. Hello! So here the thing, i just got my braces off 3 days ago and my top teeth are forming into what they looked like before i got my braces but i dont get my retainer until thursday, will my teeth move anymore, and will the retainer make them straight again? Thank you.

    1. Dear Bridget,

      Yes, I think your teeth can continue to move. Your retainers may move them back. Teeth try to move the most right after braces are removed, therefore retainers are needed to be placed soon after. With my patients, retainers are placed the same day or the day after braces are removed, depending on what retainer we are using. Every orthodontist handles retention differently. I would call the orthodontists office and tell them that your teeth are moving and ask what needs to be done.

      Thanks for the question.

  18. Hello,,,,im scyda,,,17 years old,,,i want to ask you one simple question,,,can i rinse my mouth with listerine antibacterial mouthwash! Im afraid my braces get rusty! Hehe,,,

    1. Dear Scyda,

      Mouthwashes do not cause the braces to rust. Mouthwashes are helpful in decreasing the amount of cavity causing plaque in your mouth. The original Listerine, introduced in 1895, is still sold today. However, you may want to consider Listerine Zero or Crest Pro-Health mouthwashes because they are alcohol free. Also, consider using a clear mouthwash. If you select clear elastic ties, (they hold wire onto the bracket), they can absorb the color of the mouthwash and change color. Using a mouthwash daily with brushing and flossing can really keep the chances of white spots or cavities forming.

      Thanks for the question.

  19. Hi,

    I get my braces off in 2 weeks after a year of having them. My teeth have greatly improved but my front two teeth have been chipped quite badly by the metal brackets on my front bottom teeth and I’m terribly self conscious of them.

    Will dental bonding be an option to lengthen my teeth? I don’t think filing them would work, they’re so short, but do you think the ortho would include dental bonding in the braces payment plan or would I have to pay extra?

    Should I get the bonding/filing done before the retainer molds?
    Many thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Your questions are more for a general family dentist. Just FYI. Orthodontic Specialists stay within their specialty and perform orthodontic procedures only. We do not perform general dentistry. We don’t do fillings, crowns, or cleanings for example. In the United States, most Orthodontic Specialists are members of the American Association of Orthodontists. If your orthodontist does both fillings and ortho, then they are usually a family dentist doing ortho.

      I’d have the braces removed. Wait for some months for the teeth to settle. Then if you are using a clear plastic “invisible” retainer, have a new one made after the bonding or crowns are placed. If you are using a hawley retainer, you probably won’t need a new retainer, just an adjustment.

      Thanks for the question.

  20. Dear Dr. Joseph,

    My name is Ash, a 27-year old male from Malaysia. I have two (2) questions to ask.

    Firstly, as of today, I’ve wore Damon system orthodontic braces for 13 months and will get it removed by this March 8. Within this 2 months before braces removal, I’m still not quite sure if my teeth are in the desired condition. I noticed that teeth from lower jaw and upper jaw doesn’t meet. I”m not sure if my current dentist will ‘trim’ them up to make it even but appreciate if you could enlighten me on what the procedures/processes on removing braces, installing the retainer and what lies in between.

    Secondly, on my lower jaw, there’s a huge gap as a result of tooth extraction long time ago. Appreciate if you can share with me few methods/approach to fill the gap while not compromising on the functionality. Considering that I just got my teeth aligned, I’m pretty sure this huge gap will make them relapse in the future due to the excess space.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!


    1. Dear Ash,

      There are certain criteria that we are wanting to obtain in a proper occlusion. Orthodontists want to get the occlusion as close to a Class I relationship as possible. An article about the types of malocclusions can give you a better understanding of a Class I occlusion. It is true that adjustments to the enamel (occlusal equilibration) may be needed after braces are removed. Please bring your concerns to your orthodontist before braces are removed.

      As far as the missing tooth, a false tooth (pontic) can be attached to a hawley retainer to keep the space open until a more permanent solution is done. Some of your options are, an implant, removable denture or a bridge. Most people will have a bridge or an implant placed.

      Thanks for the question.

  21. Hi what is the true cost of dental braces. Are we paying mainly for expertise, time and qualification in your professional field? This I can understand, but small pieces of metal and wire must be minimal expense.

    1. Dear Michelle,

      It is true that the materials that an orthodontist uses, like the wires, brackets, bands, are minimal compared to other costs. The main reason braces cost so much is because the teeth do not move quickly. Treatment times with just the braces is about two years followed by retention, which can last years. The biology of tooth movement has never changed. Teeth move slowly.

      In most cases, we activate the braces and they work for about a couple of weeks then they need adjusted again to continue tooth movement. These appointments are very quick and an orthodontic office sees a large number of people per month. To see that large number of patients, an orthodontist hires a large highly trained staff. Therefore, the main cost of braces is due to the long treatment times and the labor costs of the staff, not the materials. Orthodontic treatment is labor intensive. Read this article about “Why Braces are so Expensive?” for further information.

      Thanks for the question.

  22. hey im 13 and my dad said my teeth are good but there like two of my teeth messed up could i get braces and how much will it be

    1. Dear Aleya,

      You need to get a consultation to see what is the appropriate course of treatment. The orthodontist will determine if braces are needed. The cost of braces varies from orthodontist to orthodontist. At the consultation, they can tell your parents the fee.

      Thanks for the question.

  23. Hello Dr. Thompson!

    My orthodontist got it wrong and installed metallic brackets on me instead of the requested transparent ceramic ones. Since I’m an adult working with people, aesthetics are very important to me so I wanted to change to ceramic braces. He offers me to change the brackets next week to correct his mistake. Will this be prejudicial to my teeth? Will it slow the treatment?

    What is your recommendation? Should I just keep the metallic ones to prevent any possible problem? Or is it OK to change to ceramics?

    Thank very much for your answer and for the great help your website gives! Reading it made me make the leap to get my orthodontic treatment.

    Thanks a lot!

    Best regards, Max.

    1. Dear Max,

      I like working with metal brackets more than ceramics but since you are working with the public and an adult, you may want to change them out. There will be no problem if you do. The only reason I do not like ceramic brackets is because they are hard to remove. Just FYI. They break or we have to grind them off. Talk to your orthodontist about the ceramics before you change. I’m glad the website has helped you. That’s my goal.

      Thanks for the question.

    1. Hi Meghan,

      It all depends on how your teeth need to be moved. Some patients need them, some don’t. Rubber bands can move whole segments of teeth or modify growth of the upper or lower jaw. If your orthodontist asks you to wear rubber bands, do it. The sooner you wear your rubber bands, as instructed, the faster you won’t have to. More likely than not, you will be wearing rubber bands.

      Thanks for the question.

  24. ok so I did the stupid move of not wearing my retainers for im guessing its about 8 months now and I have notice my teeth shifting just a little bit I am trying to wear my retainers again and bear through the pain. so my question is will the pain go away and my retainers fit comfortable again. I had them in for about 8 hours last night and woke up at 4 in the morning and couldn’t take the pain any more so i took them out and didn’t wear them during the day but when I got home from work tonight I took three tylenol I plan on wearing them untill i go to bed tonight then sleeping with them off and wearing them at work tomorrow. I have the metal and plastic ones if that helps

    1. Dear Brittney,

      Yes, the pain will subside and your retainers will be comfortable again. Try to slowly work into full time wear. After you have worn the retainers for a while full time, check the position of your teeth. If they are not completely in good alignment, you may need interproximal reduction performed in areas where the teeth are still overlapping. Interproximal reduction is where your orthodontist will remove a slight amount of enamel between your teeth to help relieve pressure and allow teeth to move. You’re on the right track.

      Thanks for the question.

      1. ok so after i get to full time wear how long do i need to wear them full time im a preschool teacher and talk to parents and people all day long

        1. You will need guidance from your orthodontist about how to wear your retainer and you may need the enamel reduction during this time. Since you have to talk a lot at your job, try to wear it full time for one month, then wear it all the time except during work. Go see your orthodontist for more instructions. Some adult patients have to wear their retainers for years during sleep.

          I wish you well.

  25. Hello I really want to get braces, I have low self esteem because I have a overbite and my teeth is a little crooked on top. I went to get a deep cleaning and was told I have periodontal disease. My lower four front teeth is very loose. I been taking care of my teeth I use peroxide 3% with my toothpaste cause I read it helps with lowering the periodontal I’n your gums. I want to know can I get upper braces only to correct my overbite I really want the top done I have a gap I’n my two upper front teeth and it really bothers me to the point I feel embarassed to smile.I love to see people with nice smile and wish it was me. What can I do when I been denied that I can’t fix the problem that bothers me.

    1. Hi,

      If you get your periodontal disease under control then you can proceed with braces. I’ve had patients who have had deep cleanings and changed their brushing habits and then started orthodontic treatment. So it is possible. You will have a higher chance of tooth loss with the lower anterior teeth, than average. And you will need to get a green light from your family dentist or periodontist before you start treatment.

      You may have to have cleanings more often, like quarterly. Talk to your family dentist and also get a consult with an orthodontic specialist. I believe if you set your goal to obtaining a healthier smile, you can get there.

      Thanks for the question.

  26. Hi Doctor,

    You seem to be very honest and very intelligent. Thank you for this service.
    I am a 38 year old man with braces (on for 4 months). I had four teeth removed (two at the top and bottom). I am now experiencing extreme sensitivity (a tooth at the top and bottom) when cold or warm liquids or food contact them. It came suddenly, almost overnight.
    I was inform (by a non-professional) that the pressure on the tooth may have cracked it. Is this a common occurrence with braces?

    1. Dear Mr. Jenkins,

      Thank you for the compliments. First, I have never seen braces actually crack a tooth. The forces created by braces are not strong enough to cause damage.

      What you are probably experiencing is a section of the root, adjacent to the extraction site, becoming barely exposed during tooth movement. Roots are very sensitive to hot and cold liquids. I would recommend a prescription toothpaste, like Colgate Prevident 5000 plus. You can brush with it or lay the paste close to the teeth adjacent to the extraction sites. It may take a month for the sensitivity to subside. This type of sudden sensitivity is common with adults.

      Your sensitivity will also lessen as the extraction spaces are closed. Remodelling of the bone and gum tissue will occur as it closes. Please make your family dentist and your orthodontist aware of your sensitivity.

      Thanks for the question.

  27. Hello,

    I’m twenty one and have had Damon braces for ten months now (to correct a mild overbite, some crowding, and a top incisor being behind my canine, which has been corrected), but I have noticed that my lower left central incisor is more sensitive/achy than the others. The last two times I’ve gone in for adjustments I have had EXTREME pain as they put bottom wire back in brackets particularly on that tooth (last time they had to have two people just to put the wire back in the bracket, one to slide it in and the other to close it quickly). It felt like it was being pulled out, there was so much pain. My orthodontist said I just need to start biting into things more and take more Advil (which I took before the last appt.) before I go in for adjustments. It isn’t painful when I bite into soft things like bread, just feels loose. Is it normal for there to be so much pain during a wire change on just one tooth?

    1. Dear Chelsea,

      Sometimes, orthodontists place bends in the wire for only certain teeth that need to be moved. With the Damon bracket, you get all the force of the bend because they are self ligating and the little hinge has to be closed. Comparing to standard edgewise brackets, there is more give in the bracket when certain tooth movements are made. Also, an orthodontist can get heavy handed at times. We usually make small bends over a series of appointments to lessen discomfort. You need to mention to your orthodontist how much it hurt this last time. They may take that into consideration.

      Thanks for the question.

  28. Hi, I was wondering what I would have to get for my bottom teeth to straighten them out. It’s only my 4 front teeth and people have told me I could get a braces but I am not sure what to do!

    1. Hi Jillian,

      Crowding of the lower incisors is very common. If they are rotated and have a lot of overlap, lower braces would be needed for a year for correction. If there are other additional problems with the occlusion, upper and lower braces would be used for about two years.

      If your lower incisors are not severe, sometimes a retainer can be used to correct minor tooth movement. You can find out what is necessary by having a examination and consultation with an orthodontic specialist.

      Thanks for the question.

    1. Hi Megs,

      Every patient that has braces wears retainers after the braces are removed. You are half way through treatment when braces are removed. If you don’t wear retainers, your teeth will move almost back to the positions before braces and waste your time with them. Retainers are worn full time and then the patient is slowly weaned off of them as directed by their orthodontist. The retention phase of treatment lasts over many years and is very important. So, wear your retainers. Ask your orthodontist what types of retainers you are going to wear once your braces are removed.

      Thanks for the question.

        1. Retainers go hand in hand with braces. Retainers are not optional and have to be worn after braces are removed. If not, your teeth will move. I do not separate retainers from braces and they are included in the fee. Ask your orthodontist about this issue.

  29. Hi Doc,

    I just had my permanent retainer on my both upper and lower teeth. Do it need to wear it forever?

    1. Hello,

      Some patients wear fixed retainers for years. There are extra precautions in keeping them clean. When they break, you may want to try removable retainers to allow natural forces to take over. Of course when you go to removable retainers, be under the watchful eye of your orthodontist so they can make adjustments.

      Thanks for the question.

      1. Hi Dr. Joseph Thompson,

        Which mean Im required to wear my permanent retainer for years. but what i actually concern is do i need to wear it forever according to certain website?

        1. No, you should not wear a fixed retainer forever. At some point in time, it needs to be removed. At that time, removable retainers would be made and placed. Again, do this under the careful scrutiny of an orthodontist.

  30. Would my orthodontist be able to put clear wire after me already wearing silver wire since i first got my braces?

    1. Hi Makayla,

      I do not use wires that are clear. I use stainless steel and nickel titanium wires and both are silver. There are some companies that make clear wires. Ask your orthodontist if they carry the clear wires for treatment.

      Thanks for the question.

  31. So, when I had a retainer, I wore it for about 5 months straight, and my orthodontist was on the verge of shifting it to night time wear only. Some tiny bugs got all over it and, being a germaphob, I couldn’t stand to wear it. It has been a few years since, and only two of my teeth moved less that 2 mm. They don’t hurt what so ever, and my old orthodontist won’t leave me alone. Do I really need braces again if I don’t care how my teeth look as long as they still function fine (like how they were before braces)?

    1. Kelsie,

      Orthodontic treatment is an elective procedure. If you are of legal age, you make that decision. If you don’t care how your teeth look, don’t go through treatment. Also, after treatment the second time, you will still have a problem wearing a retainer.

      Thanks for the question.

  32. I have had braces for 14 months. I am missing my molars (I was born without one set and had the others extracted) on the bottom and was set to have implants directly after getting my braces removed. The braces were to fix spacing issues and an overbite. The issue is that I recently found out that I am pregnant and will have to wait until after I give birth to have the implants placed on the bottom. My top teeth are straight, though – can he remove my top set of braces and leave the bottom ones on until after I give birth and am able to get the implants? The bottom ones are keeping spaces open where the implants will go. Thanks!

    1. Hello,

      You do not have to keep the lower braces to hold the space. After braces are removed, your orthodontist can place a removable hawley retainer with false teeth (pontics) to keep the spaces open.

      As far as implants, there are certain criteria needed to do implants. Consult with the person doing the implants before braces are removed, so they can evaluate tooth position, space and root positions.

      Thanks for the questions.

  33. Dear Dr. Thompson,

    I have had braces on for about 2 years now, my orthodontist has put a permanent retainer behind my top front row of teeth, and will soon place a retainer on the lower set.

    What I am wondering is, do I also have to wear a removable retainer at night as well as the permanent ones? I am a little concerned that the permanent retainers wont be strong enough to keep the teeth in place.

    I don’t want to offend my Dr., by asking this question, but I definitely don’t want to end up with a less than best result. My teeth are very strongly rooted into the gumline so much so that extractions have to be done surgically, I am not sure if this will mean the teeth will force themselves back to their near original positions!

    Anyways I am really delighted with the work my orthodontist has done, I just want to make sure I am not asking a stupid question. Essentially, are permanent retainers enough to maintain the new position of the teeth for a lifetime?

    Thanks for answering! M

    1. Dear Mel,

      Every orthodontist does retention differently. Some orthodontists use lower fixed retainer and upper removable. Some use only removable retainers. In your case, they are using upper and lower fixed retainers. I would say that a fixed retainer will hold your anterior teeth very well and a removable, in conjunction with, is not needed. You will not offend your orthodontist by asking a question. We have questions asked of us all the time.

      Thanks for the question.

  34. I dnt know if this is ur area but this keeps happening to me and its getting freaky!

    I put in my retainer in the night then I wake up and I check my mouth and its gone so then my mum searches everywhere and finds it on the floor near the bed what is that about?!? Like unconcious sleep throwing???

    1. Hi,

      Yes Hilla, you are subconsciously removing your retainer while you are sleeping. If your orthodontist told you to wear your retainers just while sleeping, you may have to wear it 6-7 hours during the day so you can get the wear you need. Some patients do this. Talk to your orthodontist about what you should do.

      Thanks for the question.

  35. Hi,

    I recently got my braces removed, somewhere in November. I was given two removable retainers, and not even a month after that, I lost the top one. I put it down for a moment to put away something, and when I came back it was gone! Now, I do have a cat..but im really not sure if he had anything to do with it. My ortho was absolutely unreachable until today, and I’ve been covering up using my bottom retainer this entire time. In an attempt to try and keep it on my top teeth so my mother wasn’t suspicious, I broke it. I brought it with me to my appt today, but I was wondering how often do orthodontists include a back up set of retainers in their plan? Also, wouldn’t removable retainers have to be replaced once in a while regardless?

    1. Hi Brianna,

      I’d say most orthodontists will charge for lost or broken retainers. It is true that they do wear out and have to be replaced. I do not charge to replace a worn out retainer. All orthodontists handle retainer fees differently. Most don’t include a second set in the fee.

      Thanks for the question.

  36. I just got spacers and they are pretty irritating, but not as bad as I expected. One seems to protrude more than the others but they’re all secure. Is it still doing its job?

    1. Hi SJ,

      Yes, it is still doing its job. Due to the different positions of your teeth, a spacer (separator) can be a little high and not like the others. Try to keep it in as long as possible. Do not floss around it or pick at it. If it comes out, call your orthodontist and see if they want it replaced.

      Thanks for the question.

  37. Hello,

    I had my braces removed a few years ago and I wore a retainer full time for a few months. Now I wear it only at night, but I have gone a few weeks in a row without wearing it before. I have noticed that the gap between my two front teeth has widened a little bit. If I begin to wear it every night again, will my teeth go back to the way they were?

    Thank you

    1. Hi,

      Yes Zach, your retainer should close the gap. I’d advise that you see your orthodontist after the gap is closed. Tell your orthodontist what is happening and ask them to possibly place a fixed retainer behind the two upper central incisors. That is basically a wire that is bonded to the backside of the central incisors. This fixed retainer, if there is room for placement, will help keep the gap closed.

      Thanks for the question.

  38. Hi Dr Thompson,

    I have just got my permanent retainer on.. And i find it thirsty all the time especially my tongue part. I need to keeps swallowing my saliva but the is still thirsty.. is that normal? how long do it need to get used to it?

    And i do have a Question regarding to Permanent retainer, I understand from you explanation above that We should not have Permanent retainer forever, but i do remember one of my friend when his wire had broken, the ortho just glued and fixed it back for him and he did not mention about any removable retainer. and over the website seems like everyone commented that permanent braces are meant for long term which is forever..

    Can i have your more professional advice on this issue?

    Thank you very much and appreciated..

    1. Dear Bryan,

      It will take less than a week for you to get use to your permanent retainer. Salivary flow increases right after it is placed because your mind thinks it is something to eat.

      As far as permanent retainers, I try not to use a lower fixed retainer. I like obtaining a stable occlusion with natural forces so that you do not have to wear a retainer, fixed or removable. I also think a lower fixed retainer is hard to keep clean and there are maintenance issues.

      The only time I use a fixed retainer is in the case where a gap trys to open up between the upper central incisors. I’ll use one in that area to keep the space closed.

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. Hi Doc,

        Thank you for the advice. By the way i have actually 4 wisdom teeth and the upper two has completely grow out. What would you think should i need to remove it and I was a braces patient before and having permanent retainer now.. will it affect my gums if i do the extraction?

        Is it necessary to remove?

        1. Ask you orthodontist if you have room for your lower 3rd molars. If not, you need to have them all removed before the age of 20. Your orthodontist can refer you to an oral surgeon for consultation. If they are removed, the only gum tissue complication that could occur is a dry socket developing about a week after extraction. Go back to the oral surgeon if that happens.

          1. Hi Doc,

            I am 24 year old now. I don’t think i can actually have them removed before age of 20.. what does that mean?

            i went for family dentist check up few hour ago, he advice me that is better to remove so that it won’t decay and affect my the other molar..

            I haven’t called up my Orthodontist and get his further advice.

            Shall i just call him up and ask for his second advice or i should just go according to what my family doctor said? My family doctor will actually arrange a Surgeon to do it that for me.

            1. That’s funny. Go with the advice of your family dentist. We try to get the 3rd molars removed before their roots completely develop. You run the risk of mandibular nerve damage when the roots are completely formed, they are impacted and removed. Your oral surgeon will inform you of any risks.

  39. Hello

    I had a fixed brace 5-6 years ago and since then I worn my retainer most nights. Unfortunately, if I don’t wear my retainer 2 of my top teeth move quite considerably and cause a lot of discomfort. I have gone without wearing my retainer before and as my teeth move one of them cuts my gum and is painful. I have an appointment with my orthodontist soon and I was wondering what they would suggest? Would anything be done in that initial consultation?

    Thank you


    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Since two of your teeth move a lot, the orthodontist may remove some enamel (enameloplasty) on the teeth in that area to relieve the pressure that is moving the teeth. Make sure you take your retainer with you to your appointment. I’m not quite sure what your orthodontist would do during the initial visit.

      Thanks for the questions.

  40. Hello,
    I’ve had braces about 14 years ago and I few of my teeth have shifted back. I have a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth so they are find. But my front four teeth have small spaces in between them causing me to have a slight overbite. But the rest of my top teeth are straight. I think my tongue pushes on my teeth in the front. Should I leave it alone? Could something be done? A permanent retainer at the top maybe?

    1. Hi Leathia,

      See your orthodontist. They may suggest using a hawley retainer to push the incisors back toward your tongue to close the spaces. If you have room, a fixed retainer is possible. Most of the time, the lower incisors would hit an upper fixed retainer and constantly break it. If no room, then continue to use your retainer.

      Thanks for the question.

  41. Hello! I feel like my teeth could be a little bit closer together. But everyone says you have straight teeth. I’m also starting to get a gap between my two front teeth. Do you think braces would be an option or could I get something else to get it fixed?

    1. Hi,

      We use braces to close spaces all the time. You may just need a Hawley retainer with finger springs. This is a retainer with extra wire that can move teeth. Have a consultation with an orthodontic specialist, and they can give you options.

      Thanks for the question.

  42. HI
    My son who is 8 has got 2 adult teeth at the bottom & currently has his 2 adult front teeth at the top coming through, they are coming through lovely & straight but his bottom teeth completely overlap the top, will this correct itself or do I need to take him to our dentist to check out?

    1. Hi,

      If your son bites down and the lower incisors are in front of the upper incisors, that is an anterior crossbite, and it needs to be corrected. It will not self correct.

      If your son bites down and the lower incisors are covered up completely to where you can’t see the lower incisors, that is a deep bite. It needs to be corrected at some point in time. It is not as urgent as an anterior crossbite.

      It is recommended that a first time orthodontic check up for the child be around the age of 6 to 8 years old. We can prevent growth problems by early intervention. I’d advise you seek the opinion of an orthodontic specialist.

      Thanks for the question.

  43. Hi, I wanted to know whether a Hawley retainer with certain springs can be used to move anterior teeth backwards. If so, would you be able to show me any pictures of the mechanism that does this?

    1. Hello Anthony,

      A hawley retainer can move a protrusive incisor backwards if there is space on both sides of that incisor. If there is no space, it will not move. The labial bow of the retainer applies pressure to move the tooth back. No finger springs are needed. If you google “hawley retainer”, you’ll see pictures of what a standard retainer looks like. Consult with an orthodontic specialist for more information.

      Thanks for the question.

  44. Hi, i’ve had my braces on for 19 months..originally i had 4 massive gaps, and they are almost completely closed…few months ago i was at my orthodontist and she told me i could be removing them in about 6 months, today she told me 12 ! i just want to know that after all of my gaps completely close, how long roughly until i get to remove my braces?


    1. Hi Amanda,

      Once your spaces are closed, your orthodontist will keep your teeth together to allow the gum tissue to remodel. This lessens the chance of relapse (ie spaces opening back up). This length of time is at the discretion of your orthodontist and is based on how much your gum tissue needs to change. It is a very subjective decision. So your braces won’t be immediately removed after the spaces are closed.

      Thanks for the question.

  45. Hi,
    I just got my retainer on the upper part of my mouth, and I’m very bothered by how it impairs my speech. Is there any way I can have my orthodontist thin it, or make it so I can talk normally? Preferably at no cost.

    1. Hello,

      Give yourself a couple of days and you will slowly retrain your tongue subconsciously and your speach will become better. There is no need to thin out your retainer. Everyone gets use to their retainer.

      Thanks for the question.

  46. I have had braces on for 2 years 11 months to correct a rather significant overbite. . I am 32 years old and over the entire course have missed about 3 appointments during the time which u know slows progress down, but from 2 years, which was the original estimate to 3 years is significant. I told my orthodontist at my last appointment that I just applied to grad school and, if accepted out of state will be moving in August at which time, he said my teeth will not be done by then. He then called me shortly after leaving informing me that he was changing my next appointment to add spacers so that my back molars on both sides, and top and bottom may have bands placed. I already have bands on the second to last molar and often wondered why none of the very back teeth were being included, but he said that both sets of molars on both sides, top and bottom will have bands. How would this be beneficial? My teeth are a lot straighter, but there is still a significant overbite ; I assumed there would be way more progress considering the length of time I have had braces on. I appreciate any info you may be able to provide.

    1. Dear Liz,

      Obtaining all the goals for an adult in orthodontic treatment sometimes takes a long time and can be difficult to accomplish. Teeth move slower in the non-growing patient. You need to discuss with your orthodontist what goals they have in mind to achieve from this point on. Your main concern is “will the overbite be reduced more with continuation of treatment?” With adult treatment, in some cases, their is a point of diminishing returns for the amount of time the braces are used. Both of you need to decide the time frame and the best course of action for the rest of your treatment. Your orthodontist may suggest a different treatment plan. Communication is the key in this situation.

      Thanks for the question.

  47. hi,
    i have a gap between my two front teeth and i’ve been wearing braces(the removable metal type) for two months now.

    But i noticed that the gap between my front teeth were closing but more towards the bottom of my front teeth than evenly from top to bottom.

    Why is that happening and what do i do?


    1. Hello,

      It sounds like the appliance you are using is tipping your central incisors and not creating body translation. I’m not familiar with removable braces however a removable appliance would only tip the incisors around the tooth’s center of rotation. To translate a tooth bodily, meaning the crown and the root move the same amount in one direction, you have to use fixed braces which places the force more through the center of rotation causing translation. Talk to your orthodontist and ask if the side of your incisors will touch from top to bottom with the appliance you are using.

      Thanks for the question.

  48. Hello
    I’m 49 and have been in braces (sure smile) for one year. I had crowding of my bottom teeth and tweaking of some other areas. My bite occlusal is now off (little contact in the back and my front teeth are hitting) and my lower cental left tooth root is bulging lingually. This has caused trauma and my gum tissue has receeded a lot. My root is now mostly exposed, only on the lingual side. My mouth is such a mess. I’m so frustrated! I just switched my care to the partner in the practise. I’m so afraid I might lose this tooth. Can the tooth be saved if the root is bulging and there is so much gum recession?

    1. Hi,

      It is possible that the tooth can be kept. You may need a gingival graft in that area. A periodontist (gum specialist) would harvest a piece of gum tissue from your palate and place it in the area of recession. After it heals, the gum tissue is more durable and usually stops the recession. To correct a lingually bulging root, a bend is placed in a rectangular wire to move the root facial. I’d ask your orthodontist if a consult with a periodontist is needed. The gum specialist can determine if the tooth can be saved.

      Thanks for the question.

  49. Hi doc,
    Im 13 years old. I was told by my orthodontist that i have a bilateral crossbite and a little bit of an overbite. So we sent pictures of my teeth in and the insurance accepted. They said i needed braces and an expander. So my question is how long will i have my expander on or will i have braces and an expander on together? Hope you can help!

    1. Hi Mackensi,

      Some orthodontists use an expander and braces at the same time. I usually don’t. I start with the rapid palatal expander first. Once in place, you will be instructed in how often the expander needs to be turned. Once you have expanded the palate enough, you have to allow the bone to heal. I wait 3 months for the palate to heal after the last turn of the expander. So, to answer your question, you could have the RPE from 4 to 6 months.

      Thanks for the question.

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