577 thoughts on “Answered Questions Page8

  1. Hello,
    I am 29, and I was hesitant on getting braces, but i’ve finally went through with it. So far the process has been less than smooth and I am concerned that I may need to change my ortho. I opted for traditional ceramic braces top and bottom. He installed about 8 brackets on my bottom teeth, along with an archwire and ligatures. I asked when I would get the brackets on my top teeth and why I didn’t get them on my first visit. He responded with “that’s just the way I do things”, then he said I would get the top on my second visit.I thought this approach was odd especially since my top needs way more work than my bottom. A week before for my second visit, one of the brackets popped off, I went in to get it fixed and hoped that I would get the top brackets installed as well. Instead he glued the bracket back on, changed my ligatures and sent me on my way. I asked again about the top he said on your third visit. A week before my third visit, that same bracket that popped off the first time, popped off again. I went in to get it fixed again. This most recent appointment was alarming and has me worried. While I am seating on the chair, he asked his assistant what I was in for, she said she didn’t know, then he said I am not sure why she is in either, then he adds well I might as well add more brackets to these remaining bottom teeth. So now I have brackets on all my bottom teeth, and still nothing on the top. I stormed off and didn’t ask about it because I was just too pissed at that point. During my consult he said it would take 18 to 24 months, but I have a feeling it might take way longer than that. I also feel like he really doesn’t have an actual treatment plan, since he has yet to give a clear answer. All the adults I know with braces got both bottom and top on their first visit, so I don’t get his approach. I am worried that I am wasting my time and money and wonder if I need to get a new ortho? Any insight you can give would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi Monia,
      Since you are in treatment with your orthodontist for such a long period of time (years), you have to have confidence in their abilities and professionalism. If you do not, it is very frustrating and uncomfortable. Your orthodontist should be able to talk to you in such a way that you understand what is going on. If you have lost confidence in them, then seek a second opinion. It may cost you a little more, if you transfer, but you may be a lot happier. Use the American Association of Orthodontist’s website to find an orthodontic specialist in your area.

    2. Hi, I’m wearing retainers at the moment, what mm do they have to be until I can just wear them in at night and until I don’t need them at all?

      1. Hi,
        Your orthodontist will have a certain schedule you need to follow for wearing your retainers. Every orthodontist will do this differently based on the needs of each patient. For example, my patients wear their retainer full time for six months then night only until they stop growing.

  2. hi, i took off my braces then wore the retainer last year
    unfortunately, the retainer got broken and i didn’t care about wearing it again
    so now I’m having spaces between my teeth and I’m not so happy about it
    my question is: should i wear a new retainer from my dentist or i have to get a new braces and do the whole process again?

    1. Hi,
      It depends on where the spaces are located, how many and how large they have become. You could try the new retainer first to see if the spaces will close. If the space is between your upper central incisors, a Hawley retainer or a clear plastic aligner can be made to close a small space.

  3. I have had twin-block braces for nearly 2 years now and i have been getting a tooth that is growing on the outside and was getting really painful. I took it out for a bit to let the tooth have a rest and put them back in and it is fitting okay but i have a wire at the front to kind of hold onto but it doesn’t fit onto that tooth anymore and is looking really odd. Is this okay and will my orthodontist feel unhappy with this?

    1. Hi,
      You probably need your orthodontist to adjust the wire on the twin block so that the tooth can erupt. Call your orthodontist to be seen for a special appointment and ask them if you should wear the twin block or not, until seen.

  4. Hi,
    My daughter is going to have braces soon, however her incisors which are suppose to be next to her front teeth are in the top of her pallet. The orthodontist wants these removed but we don’t want them as it doesn’t look normal. What shall we do? Should we get a second opinion? If these teeth were to be moved into position what is the likely hood of them moving back after retainers have been removed?
    Should we pay to go private to get this done?

    1. Hello,
      I would try to place the permanent incisors in their proper position by going through orthodontic treatment. Keeping as many permanent teeth as possible is the best solution. Incisors are very important for a nice smile. I would seek a second opinion and if the incisors are placed in their proper position, they should stay in place and not relapse back into their old position in the palate. I would go private pay to get the problem resolved, if that means better care and a better chance of keeping the permanent teeth.

  5. Dr. Thompson,

    I just got my braces on March 3rd and have already went back for my first appointment. They gave me springs and chains on the top. They also said that I would have to wear the braces for 18 months at least if not shorter than that. My teeth are moving really fast, the day I got them on within 4 hours my front top teeth had moved! I have a really bad overbite and can’t get bottom braces on till that is fixed. I also have a tusk up in my gum. How do they fix this.? When will I get these off? & Can I get a clear retainer instead of the metal retainers? Im only 14!

    1. Hi Alyssa,
      Usually treatment time with braces is about 18 to 24 months. Your orthodontist has certain criteria that must be accomplished before your braces are removed. As far as your teeth that are in the gum tissue, as soon as they erupt far enough, your orthodontist will place brackets on them and bend a wire up to them to bring them down. If they have room to erupt, they will erupt quickly. When it is time to remove your braces, your orthodontist can tell you which retainer is best for you. Most people can use a clear plastic retainer to retain their smile.

  6. Hi my name is Mercedes a 28 years I have all my baby teeth still in What should i do? Should i have them remove and placed them adult teeth?

    1. Hi,
      Your treatment plan depends on what teeth you have present or impacted, if any. Congenitally missing permanent teeth, ogliodontia or hypodontia, happens often in the general population. To have all permanent teeth congenitally missing is very rare. If you have some permanent teeth, try to keep them. You need to consult with a general dentist.

      If you only have primary teeth, they may recommend the removal of all your primary teeth, place implants and an overlay dentures. If you have some permanent teeth, bridges or implants can be used to replace the missing teeth. The primary teeth will not last your adult life and your esthetics will greatly improve with the dentures, bridges or implants.

  7. Hi there,

    Im an 18 year old male and was due to have braces at about 16, but for some reason or another I didn’t end up getting them. I now have an open bite, my 4 top front teeth don’t meet my bottom teeth leaving about a 4mm gap when I bite down. Everything seems to line up okay apart from my 4 top front teeth protruding and creating the gap, almost like they just need to be pushed into place. It doesn’t cause me any problems, it is purely cosmetic. I was wondering what my options are in getting this corrected? Thanks a lot

    1. Hi,
      It depends on why the open bite exists. It maybe due to incisor protrusion, adverse jaw growth or an over-retained infantile swallowing habit. Depending on the reason, determines the treatment. For a small openbite, braces, elastics and interproximal enamel reduction may fix the problem. If you have spaces between the upper anterior teeth, a tongue crib and a retainer may work. If you have bimaxillary protrusion, one tooth in each quadrant needs to be extracted and space closure obtained with braces. There aren’t vary many other options.

  8. Hi,
    I am 53 and got braces on my top teeth about 12 weeks ago. During my visit today, my orthodontist told her dental assistant to put bigger bands (I believe they’re technically called ligatures) on my teeth (I only have elastic bands around the brackets). I thought the ligatures only held the wire in place, so why would I need bigger bands? And why are my teeth so sore this evening? Do bigger bands somehow tighten the wire?

    1. During the first part of treatment, an orthodontist wants to rotate all the teeth so that the front of the tooth is facing properly. By using a ligature that is stronger, it will force the flexible wire into the slot of the bracket more and cause the rotation to occur. Your teeth are sore because the bigger bands are placing more pressure on your teeth with the wire.

  9. hi doctor,
    Is there chances of tmj problem after braces?
    i’m in early 20’s and mine is non-extraction case. 6 months after braces were removed i removed my fixed retainers and since then i hear some clicking noise every time I open my mouth and also regular pain on muscles that opens mouth with neck and shoulder pain. Now i’m without retainers at all. Does not wearing retainers led to tmj?

    1. Hi,
      Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) is usually due to clenching or bruxism. A patient can have a proper occlusion after orthodontic treatment and still get TMJD. It’s the increase muscle tension in the side of your face, neck and shoulders that needs relief. Rub the muscles out. Try not to clench or grind your teeth. If you are bruxing during sleep, you may need a hard acrylic night guard (splint) to wear at night. The splint decreases muscle tension. Talk with your orthodontist or family dentist. To answer your questions, orthodontic treatment decreases the chances of TMJD and the lack of retainer wear has no connection to TMJD.

        1. After wearing night guard, there is instantaneous pain relief or it takes time and how long it takes for pain to go away ?

          1. Most patients get relief quickly from a splint and the patient has to wear their splint indefinitely. If they forget to wear their splint or stop wearing it, their symptoms usually come back. Most patients that grind their teeth, do so because they have personal worries or high job stress. Some patient’s TMJD went away when they changed their job or reduced their stress level.

            1. Hi Doctor,
              I have been wearing night guard for last 10 days after the tmj problem, for first 4 days i felt okay, no clicking sounds and pain relief. But from 5th day i again hear the same clicking sound, there is discomfort in by neck and back and more intense pain. Talked to my doctor but nothing he could say, says that its totally new case. What could have gone wrong ?

              1. Hello,
                Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is usually related to clenching and grinding of the teeth. This increases muscle tension in the joint itself and the side of the face. The muscle tension can go into your shoulder and back. A hard acrylic splint usually provides relief from the muscle tension. Your clicking sound may never go away, but the pain and muscle tension should subside with splint wear. I’d continue to wear the splint. Some adults have had to wear a splint for years. Your symptoms can come and go based on how much grind/clenching you do during the day and while sleeping.

                During the day, it is normal that 2 millimeters of space should be between your upper and lower teeth at rest. If you find your teeth touching, consciously place a space between them. Also, massaging the muscles can also help relieve the tension and your symptoms.

                1. i want to ask you that my lower front teeth are greater in lenght than lower molars.can they become equal to my lower molars. because they are partialy covered by upper front teeth like in over bite.
                  my molars bite is correct by the way.

                  1. Hi,
                    Many patients have a deep bite, also called an overbite which is a curve of the occlusal plane from back to front. With orthodontic treatment, we flatten the occlusal plane.

  10. Hello,
    Ive had my braces off for a while now but my gap has come back it is not as big as it was before but it is still a problem. I spoke to my orthodontist about it the first time and she said no it was fine.
    But now its gotten a bit bigger and people are laughing at me again, i want to ask my orthodontist about getting my braces back again. But i think she will say no.
    This is because i have just had measurements for two fake lateral incisors (i think thats what there called)to be put in because they were missing and i am getting one put in this thursday. would putting braces back on mess everything up? Or will it be difficult? I also have a wonky front tooth that they wont fix.
    Thank you

    1. Hi,
      You need to have your teeth in the best position before the lateral incisors are placed. If the space between your central incisors is small, a Hawley retainer can be made that can move the teeth back together. If the gap is large, braces or clear active aligners can be used. Once your gap is gone, then you can proceed with replacing the missing teeth.

  11. Hello
    my mum called up my orthodontist and they have referred me to a specialist but I’m still supposed to get my teeth put in. And I’m just worried that if i get my gap closed will it mess up the measurements for my teeth because i do not want the dentist to make my mum pay for new teeth because they have to remeasure the them.
    Sorry because i keep on coming back
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi,
      Dentists and orthodontists coordinate the timing of events that effect each other. I’d say that you are in good hands as long as you tell your orthodontist and family dentist what you want done and what concerns you. Closing a gap between central incisors is usually done first before making false teeth for the missing lateral incisors. If the gap is not closed and a lab order has been made for replacing the lateral incisors, that lab order could be cancelled and you would not incur an expense. The best thing to do is communicate your wishes soon.

  12. I’ve just had my braces taken off after 8 months with them being on, my teeth are not fully straight yet though? even though im still in the care of my orthodontist because i have retainers, do you think it would be possible that my ortho would give me braces a second time free? (14 years old btw) because my treatment hasnt ended yet.

    1. Hello,
      That is really hard to say. If you have paid in full and your treatment was not completed then I’d say you need to ask about continuing treatment. Again, its hard to say what your orthodontist will do since I don’t know all the facts.

  13. Hello: My 9 year old grandaughter just saw her ortho for a consult. She has an overbite, her mother did as well and had braces. The ortho told my daughter that my grandaughter would have to have a Phase 1 and Phase II and then the braces (something like that). I am concerned not only about the cost, but the discomfort that all these phases will cause my grandchild. Why can’t they just give her braces like they did her mother at 10. Also, we can’t afford this until a year from now, can we wait a year without too many ramnifications

    1. Hi,
      Early phase I treatment is used to correct growth problems. Since your orthodontist is suggesting two phases of treatment, I’d say that the malocclusion is severe and needs attention now. Since you can’t start until a year from now, there may only be one long phase of treatment. It is true that costs are higher with two phases. For my patients, I suggest early phase I treatment if there is a significant severe malocclusion developing and needs intervention now. Discomfort is the same for either phase and kept to a minimum. You can always have another consultation with the orthodontist to clarify the reasons for two phases.

  14. Hello,

    I got my braces off sometime in February and have been wearing them all day everyday. But today I woke up with a sore on the roof of my mouth and I can’t put my upper retainer in without experiencing a lot of discomfort. I’ve had my upper retainer out all day and I’m worried that I might not be able to wear it for a couple days depending on how long this sore sticks around. Are my teeth going to shift a lot if I don’t have the upper retainer in for a couple days?

    1. Hi April,
      Your teeth can move quickly. Try to wear the retainer some everyday until you see your orthodontist for an emergency visit. Your sore spot may be from your retainer and your retainer needs adjusted.

  15. I just got my braces put on today. There is a lot of pain in my gums and teeth. I know this is normal but is there anything else besides pills to reduce the pain?

    1. Hi,
      There is not much that can be done to reduce the pain. The first 24 hours is the hardest and it gets progressively better over the next 4 to 5 days.

  16. Dear Dr.

    I recently had to have two upper jaw teeth removed! My dentist said that I should have them replaced. I wear retainers at night since I had my braces removed! I am seeing that my teeth are starting to space out! Do I need to see the orthodontist about having new retainers made! Can retainers be worn along with partial dentures.

    Please advise

    1. Hi Catrina,
      Yes, you need to see your orthodontist for a new Hawley retainer that can stop or reverse the tooth movement that is occurring. If adjusted properly, a retainer can be worn in conjunction with a partial denture.

  17. Hi doc, i am 16 and has an expander for a couple of months now, and have appointment next week for consultation for the wisdom teeth surgery, i needs 4 teeth extracted + 4 wisdom teeth out. I was wondering, i need to get my expander out first right before any extractions? And which one would i do the best first, wisdom surgery or 4 extractions first? Thanks so much.

    1. Hello,
      It is optimal to have the expander out of the way before the extractions. If you can get all eight teeth removed during one surgery, that would be best. If you have to choose, have the 4 extractions first, because they effect the progression of your orthodontic treatment. 3rd molars can be removed later.

  18. Hello,
    I am about to get my braces off this Thursday and I have had them on for about a year. Today I was eating almonds and broke a bracket that is in the back of my mouth. My orthodontist is not open on the weekend and I am getting very nervous that he will extend the amount of time that I will have my braces on for. Should I be worried? It Is just 5 days until debanding. Will all of my teeth shift in this amount of time? Thank you!

    1. Hi,
      Since it is a back bracket that is off, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Posterior teeth do not move very fast. Call your orthodontist the first of the week and explain what has happened. Most likely, they will keep your braces off appointment as scheduled.

  19. The wire to my (removable) top retainer broke 4 days ago and I am waiting for my new one to be made. The orthodontist said it would take approximately 1-2 weeks longer from today for the replacement.

    Since there is nothing wrong with the plastic part of the retainer, the orthodontist said I can still wear it, even though the wire is no longer there. She said this would help a little bit with “retaining” my teeth position.

    However, I am still afraid of my teeth moving. I have had my braces off for 12 years now, I got them off when I was 18-years-old and now I am 30-years-old. I have worn my retainers religiously (almost) every night. How concerned do I need to be with my teeth moving in the next 1-2 weeks given my situation?

    Is there anything I can or should do while I wait for my retainer to be made? I heard somewhere that wearing a mouthguard (like the kind you can buy from the sporting goods store and boil in water to fit your teeth) can help teeth from moving. Any thoughts on that? Do you think it is probably sufficient enough just to wear the retainer broken retainer (without the wire) while I wait?

    Thank you so much for your time and for your very helpful website.

    1. Hi Jan,
      Since it has been a long period of time (12 years), the chance of any movement in a 1-2 week period is very small. Wearing the plastic part of your broken retainer is normal. I ask my patients to do the same. I would not bother with the mouth guard. If your teeth slightly move, your new retainer will move them back since the impression was taken with your teeth in good positions.

  20. Good afternoon,

    What a fabulous and informative website!
    I’m 28 and just got fitted with a full mouth of braces (plus 8 extractions, wisdom teeth and four bicuspids) … It’s been quite the experience so far.
    My question is about hardware.They tied these thin extra wires from my eye teeth to my back molars (all four of them). Then put an archwire ontop of everything. These wires are awful, they are quite sharp and seem flimsy. I’m apprehensive to put wax on them because I’m affraid to break them.
    How long do patients usually have to wear these? Is there anything I can to alleviate their effects on my cheeks?

    1. Hi Lindsey,

      When you have extraction sites and the wire goes across that space, the orthodontist can place a tissue sleeve on the wire to keep the wire from irritating your cheeks. A tissue sleeve is a piece of tubed rubber that slides on the wire and is in that extraction site area. If you do not have one, call and see if they can place one. You can use wax on the brackets but not on just the wire. The sores that develop on the cheeks get progressively worse, so I’d start talking to your orthodontist about a remedy.

      1. Thank you for your helpful advice. Boy was my Grandmother right, vain indeed does equal pain. Here’s to hoping these spaces close with lightning speed =)

  21. I had a gold chain on my impacted tooth 3 months ago. Today, when I flossed, I noticed that my gold chain has turned partially black! Is this normal, as the gold chain has turned ‘dirty’ or ‘rusty’? I tried to use my orthodontic toothbrush to clean it away, but it is still the same.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Melody,
      The gold chain is not made of gold. It is an alloy of brass and other metals. Based on what you eat, drink and the pH of your mouth, the chain can discolor. I have not found a solution to this problem. It will probably stay dark until it is removed. Just keep brushing the area.

  22. Hello Dr Joseph
    sorry to be back again! Today i went to the dentist and they put in my fake teeth and i am to have an orthodontist appointment next week tuesday. My orthodontist has said that they are going to give me a hawley retainer to close my gap again. In was wondering if closing my gap will affect my fake teeth as they are not screwed into my gum but they are connected to my canine tooth.

    1. Hi,
      Your dentist has used a cantilever bridge to replace your lateral incisors. Your Hawley retainer can be adjusted to where it will not affect your fake teeth.

  23. hi i get my braces on in 3 days and i have my spacers in. On the right side of my mouth i had to get a root canal and have a permanent crown in. I have to get the molar bands in, and I’m nervous for major discomfort around my crown since it was done on a molar and is now very sensitive.

    1. Hello,
      Your sensitivity may be from the spacers or the root canal and crown. If the tooth is too sensitive to work on, they may delay placing the band on that tooth and place it later.

  24. Hello,

    I am a 21 year old female, and it am about to get my braces taken off after 8 months of treatment. This might sound crazy, considering all the time and money put into taking care of my braces, but I want my teeth to go back to their original placement. I’m wanting to not wear the retainers. My question- is it okay to do this, or will my teeth shift dangerously or too much? My teeth weren’t bad in the first place.

    1. Hi,
      I do not know how your teeth will move. There could be adverse effects from their movements. If you want your teeth to relapse, then don’t wear the retainers. Your choice. With retainer wear, your teeth will settle some and you may like their new positions. I’d go through the retention phase as instructed by your orthodontist.

  25. Hello Dr.,

    My daughter just got an expander and it is scraping her tongue. What can i do or use at night for relief and to avoid any further injuries.

    1. Hi,
      If you find a sharp edge by rubbing your finger over the RPE, have your orthodontist look at it. The edge can be softened.

      It is normal for deep indentations from the RPE to develop in the tongue. This is due to the tongue pushing up against the RPE when she swallows. Once the RPE is removed, the indentations will go away. If she is having trouble only at night, you could try wax on the flat part of the RPE. This may help, but be in the way of finding the hole when making your next turn.

      I believe her symptoms will subside with time. If they don’t, consult with your orthodontist.

  26. Hi again, would my face change after wisdom tooth surgery? I currently have an underbite and very concave face/protruded chin. would it be more concave after the surgery? What ways can i lessen my face to grow even longer?

    1. Hello,
      The removal of 3rd molars, wisdom teeth will not change your profile. To lessen an underbite, forces like a reverse headgear or Class III elastics are needed while you are growing. In the adult, orthognathic surgery is usually considered for correction of a Class III malocclusion.

  27. What are other alternative ways than orthognatic surgery (16, according to ortho. I have stopped growing, concave face, underbite)

    1. The profile changes the most when the underlying bone structure is moved. If you have a severe underbite, orthognathic surgery is indicated and your profile will change a lot. If you have a slight underbite, Class III elastics may reduce the underbite but not change the profile much. Talk to your orthodontist about changing your profile and get their input. Other options are to evaluate the position of the nose and chin. Sometimes plastic surgery is needed on the nose and/or chin to correct a concaved profile.

  28. Hi….i just got my elastic bands today…my orthodontist said that i am supposed to take them off only when I’m eating and brushing.So does that mean that i have to remove them EVERY single time I put something in my mouth?e.g a sweet or just the normal meals? and do i need to put new ones after brushing my teeth?

    1. Hello,
      Usually the elastics are taken out for a normal meal and you need to use new elastics everyday.

  29. II have just had my twin block braces taken out and im onto night wear now but my bottom brace was broken so my orthodontist has sent off for a new one and im getting it in a week. I still have to wear my top brace because of the expansion I have on that but it has been one night with just my top brace and my two front bottom teeth are really painful, is this normal? How do I make the pain go away or does it just need time?

    1. Hello,
      I’d call the office and see if they want to adjust your twin block. It sounds like your lower teeth are sore from trauma from the twin block.

  30. Hie,

    I have had my braces for 3 years now.I got my elastics for the first time 3 days ago and there are 2 on each side.I thought the pain would go away but it still hurts very much.I am drinking cold water and taking pain killers but there is no difference.I have to talk and participate in school almost every minute because i need a good report but i can not move my jaws or open my mouth.No one can understand me when i am talking!!When i sneeze,the pain is terrible.This is causing me to remove my elastics at irregular times and I heard that this slows down the treatment.What can I do?

    Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Hi,
      I’m sorry you are having so much trouble but that is normal with elastic wear. Teeth do get sore. On the other hand, the rubber bands come in different strengths and lengths. Ask your orthodontist if a longer rubber band would do the job so you can wear it full time. Also, before you see them, you can take the rubber band and stretch it slightly to lessen its power. It is more important to be able to wear the elastics full time, if you are told to do so, than to wear them sporadically. Hope that helps.

  31. I’m 32 years old and last year had my impacted canines exposed. they attached a chain to it. I go every 2-3 weeks to my ortho to activate them. they are moving my left one is in position. the right one is moving but slow. on the right one the chain seems to be under the gums (roof of mouth) looks like the tissue is a little swollen i cant even see the chain. Its hurting and feels as if the chain is digging into the roof of mouth and cutting. they put a button on the tooth and keep using elastics to tie it to my arch-wire. is it normal for the chain to do that? i don’t go to my ortho until Monday. Thanks

    1. Hello,
      Depending on where the tooth is located, a chain can follow many different paths through the gum tissue. You will experience different sensations and the gum tissue can become swollen especially when the tooth tries to break through the tissue. Make sure you brush the area to keep plaque from accumulating. Also use over the counter non-alcohol mouth wash like Crest Pro-health rinse or use plain salt water rinse. In some cases your orthodontist will prescribe chlorhexadine gluconate (Peridex) if needed.

      1. Thanks so much. i been using salt water rinses and Listerine. I brush it about 3 times a day. I guess its just the tooth moving but the pain is bad from chain cutting gums. thanks

  32. What does it mean when my orthodontist tells the assistant to “step up ____”? I would assume it has something to do with intrusion or torque.

    Thanks very much. I appreciate this site.

    1. Hi,
      “Step up ______” is a nick name for a 1st order bend which is a bend in the wire that moves the tooth in the vertical or horizontal plane. 2nd order bends tips the teeth mesial or distal or rotates the tooth. Finally, 3rd order bends are for root torque and are usually done at the end of treatment so they are usually called “finishing bends”.

    1. Hi,
      In a growing patient the growth of the jaws can be changed for the better with orthodontic treatment. I’d have a consultation with an orthodontist to see what can be done. If the jaw alignment is way off, braces and surgery may be indicated.

  33. Hello, i have a thirteen year old son who was denied treatment by our insurance, and i was wondering if there was anything i could do? teeth numbers 6 and 11 are impacted and pushing on 10 and 5. The insurance dentist said that he did not have any crowding or gaps, and so he did not need braces. Also, his orthodontist says that he does have all of the requirements to get orthodontic treatment. What should i do ?

    1. Hi,
      Based on your statement, orthodontic treatment is indicated for your son (impacted cuspids). You will have to call and fight for your benefits. You can get a copy of your records and submit it to the insurance company again. Diagnosis, supporting materials (models/radiographs) and a letter from your orthodontist resent to your insurance company contesting the decline may make them change their mind. The devil is in the details found in the insurance contract and it is based on definitions of why they have declined. You have to find out why it was declined and then see if you can prove to them that it should not.

  34. My 12 y.o daughter has congenitally missing permanent teeth. She is currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, and they recommend removing two ankylosed primary teeth, with implants recommended after she is 21 y.o. I am worried about the space this will create during her teenage years, and if this procedure is used regularly. Are there any other options?

    1. Hello,
      The two primary ankylosed teeth will cause problems with the orthodontic leveling and movement of adjacent teeth. They have to be removed. Once the braces are removed, a hawley retainer with false teeth will keep the space until implants or a fixed bridge is placed at a later age. 10% of the population have congenitally missing teeth. This is a very common procedure for an orthodontist to request.

  35. I had an exposure and bonding surgery on an impacted tooth over a year and a month ago and see no sign of the tooth surfacing .I can not make out any sign of it. Should I be worried that it is taking longer than I imagined or is this the level of progress that should be expected and I’m just being impatient. If so,how long should I wait before I see any improvements?

    1. Hello,
      First, not all impacted teeth will erupt into the mouth with treatment. There is always a chance that the tooth will not move due to ankylosis or very poor initial position. The more horizontal the tooth is, the less likely it will come in. A radiograph needs to be taken and compared to the initial x-ray to see if movement has occurred. Also, if teeth adjacent to the impacted tooth starts to move to the impacted tooth, that means it is not moving. I’d like to see an impacted tooth erupt into the mouth during the first year. If after a year there has been little or no movement, possible extraction may be indicated.

    1. Not really. The main reason for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) is a patient who grinds or clenches their teeth causing muscle tension which pulls the TMJ meniscus out of position. TMJD problems can arise from trauma to the lower jaw causing damage to the TMJ. Also, you can have arthritis in the TMJ. So to answer your question, there are many patients who have a malocclusion who do not have TMJ problems. On one hand, a bad malocclusion can increase your chances of TMJD because as the patient grinds, muscle tension can increase more quickly due to the malocclusion. Whereas, a proper corrected occlusion can allow the patient to move their jaw side to side more freely which lessens muscle tension in the side of the face but they can still get TMJD. Therefore, a corrected malocclusion decreases your chances of TMJD. That is the best explanation I can give.

  36. Hello,

    I’ve had my braces on for 3 weeks now and on my upper right 2 molars I have this teeny tiny elastic band from hook to hook (only these two molars, no where else). First off what is this elastic for? Secondly, it’s really hard to floss with it in place, any suggestions for a alternative way to get between the teeth?

    1. Hello,
      An elastic power chain can be used to move teeth in a variety of ways. The majority of time it is used to close spaces or rotate teeth. To floss between your teeth use a stiff floss threader or superfloss. Both have a thin stiff plastic part that can be placed under the wire so that the floss can get between the teeth.

  37. What is the procedure to join divergent parallel roots of lower central incisors? Do brackets need to be moved closer to the gumline?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi,
      To parallel divergent roots of the central incisors, a second order bend in the wire will parallel the roots. Placing the bracket further gingival will just extrude the teeth. Bending the wire properly is the easiest and fastest way to move the teeth.

  38. I had my braces put on a couple days ago and they put glue on my back molars to stop me from biting together but I can’t eat because from biting on the glue the tooth below it has become extremely sensitive and eating is just so painful, I’m also getting around 1 – 2 hours of sleep because the pain on my bottom teeth is just horrendous, I’ve taken a variety of painkillers (not at the same time) but nothing seems to work, the pain just keeps getting worse and I don’t know what to do :/

    1. Hi Katie,
      You are experiencing trauma from occluding on the adhesive. I am not a proponent of using this technique to open a deep bite because of the exact problem you are having. I’d call the office and tell them your symptoms. They may remove some of the adhesive. Or, you could wait to see if your soreness diminishes in the next couple of days.

  39. Hi Dr Thompson,

    I’m 17, I had my braces when I was 14 and then got them off just over year later. When I got them off, it was about a week before I was due to go on holiday so I couldn’t get my retainers until I came back, by then it had been about a month since I I had my braces off. So naturally when I got them, they hurt a lot to wear. I wore them for a couple of days but they were too painful so I stopped wearing them. It’s been two years since then and now I’m concerned about how much they’re moving. They aren’t too bad but my canine teeth have moved the most I’d say and have come forward a bit and whilst my teeth still look pretty straight, to me it’s obviously noticeable. I still have my old retainers from two years ago and was wondering if there was anything I could do that would involve not having to get braces again? I plan on going to see my othodontist again to ask them but wondered what your advice would be?


    1. Hello,
      The type of treatment suggested will be dependent upon how far your teeth have moved. In some cases, an active Hawley retainer or active aligner will do the job. Also, you need to take your old retainer with you to your orthodontist appointment. In some cases, the old retainer can be modified and used.

    1. Hello,
      In the very beginning of orthodontic movement, we want the roots to be parallel to each other. When the wire straightens out the teeth they rotate around their center of rotation and sometimes a space forms where they were tipped towards each other. So, it’s normal for spaces to open up.

  40. Hey doc,
    I got my braces off 4 years ago and stopped wearing my retainer for a long time. My teeth have shifted a little bit and I got a new retainer last week. He has me wearing elastics across my top front 6 teeth to close the gaps. Would wearing more than one elastic speed up the process or mess it up? Also how long before I start to see results? I’m scheduled to go back in a month.

    1. Hi Joseph,
      Wear the elastics as instructed. Teeth move better with light forces not heavy. It takes the cells a good week or so of constant pressure to start resorbing bone for teeth to start moving.

  41. Hello there,
    I have a question regarding retainers. About a decade ago I was an orthodontics patient. Everything went well there and eventually I received an upper Hawley retainer and sent off into the world. I have been wearing the retainer one night a week since I was released from my orthodontist’s care and so far it’s been pretty good, until recently that is. I feel as if the retainer is working less effectively as before all of a sudden and that my front teeth are starting to shift. Do you feel I’m just being crazy; if not what would you suggest my course of action be?

    1. Hi,
      Teeth can move at any age. They are not set in-stone. I’d say your retainer is not as strong as it used to be and you need a new one. They do wear out. Contact your orthodontist.

  42. Hi my name is lyny and I have had braces for 6 years now. Soon I’m getting them off but I’m worried because ive seen that I have white stains and brown spots between and on my teeth. It doesn’t show much but I know it probably will when I take them off. I was just wondering if there is a way to get rid of the stains before or after I take my braces off.
    Thank you

  43. Hi, im not sure if my teeth is in normal positions.. but i noticed i have a midline shift, not that bad, but its obvious, like in between of my tooth is the midle of my two lower teeth.. i dont know how to explain, bu i hope you get it.. do i need treatments? Braces? Thanks.

    1. Hello,
      Almost every person has a midline shifted to one side or the other. It is usually the lower midline that is off. We do try to correct the midlines as best as possible during treatment. You’ll need a consultation with an orthodontist to see if treatment is indicated.

  44. I just got my rubber spacers on yesterday. Out of 12, only 3 have not broke. Is this to be expected? I am eating soft foods as instructed.

    1. Hi,
      If you are talking about rubber bands, it is abnormal for them to break that often. There may be a sharp edge of adhesive around the bracket that is cutting the rubber band. It just needs to be smoothed out by your orthodontist. Other reasons for rubber band breakage would be too small of a rubber band. They come in different sizes.

  45. hello im 17 and my teeth are nicely shaped and healthy however i have an over crowdard mouth and need 4 teeth pulled out at the back, which are pushing my two front teeth forward and giving me an over bite once my back teeth are pulled out will an invisalign work for me?? or am i able to get a full top set of veneers have two front forward teeth?? what is possible? thank you

    1. Hi,
      With extractions, I don’t think clear plastic aligners like Invisalign are as efficient at closing the extraction spaces as well as traditional fixed appliances (braces). The veneers are a very poor choice because you will have problems with the veneers breaking for the rest of your life. I suggest you have a couple of consultations and get as much information as possible before making a decision because some decisions are irreversible. The best solution is natural teeth in a proper occlusion. Use http:/mylifemysmile.org to find an orthodontic specialist.

  46. Quick question….

    I have a permanent lingual retainer at top that runs from lateral incisor to lateral incisor. My braces have been off since February. I also use and wear a removable retainer for my uppers. I use to wear my removable retainer 24/7 for two straight month. Since April i was told to only wear it each night when i go to sleep. So I do not wear my retainer during the day. However, about 4-5 hours after my retainer is removed for the day my upper-left canine begins to shift such that it results in a diastema (the interproximal has no contact point between this canine and its adjacent lateral incisor). Each morning i take out my retainer there is no diastema — it has a proper contact point.

    I was hoping that the constant use of my upper removable retainer would stop this canine tooth movement and it wouldn’t be a problem. I actually dont mind the diastema but when i smile the slight gap (its very, very thin and not that noticeable from the mirror) shows a noticeable black triangle near the gumline πŸ™ ..if i dont smile too wide the black triangle wont be seen.

    I am wondering what my options are. My guess is if i tell my ortho he will get a bit upset that i waited this long to point this out (i didnt know this would still be a problem after 4 months) and also it seems likely they will have to chisel out the existing permanent lingual retainer and put in a new one that extends to include that canine. My fear is that when they do that my upper anterior will shift a little (because its no longer reinforced by a retainer wire temporarily) and THEREFORE lose their current (and proper) positions (just like my canine) when the lingual retainer is removed temporarily.

    Is there a different technique to resolve this such as just adding a lingual retainer wire extension from the adjacent lateral incisor to this canine? But the length of this wire to do that would be so tiny that it would be next to impossible to accomplish. It seems the only option is to remove the existing lingual retainer and put in a newer (longer) one. But again, it seems inevitable that the rest of my teeth will then move seeing as how my canine is moving without a retainer holding it in place.

    Any ideas what i should do?

    Should i just live with this peculiar behavior since the gap isnt noticeable that much unless i smile very wide and you see a dark triangle at the gumline of this canine? That is, until i have my retainer in for a long while and then the gap disappears (when the retainer is out it takes about 4-5 hours before the gap returns).

    Thanks for any info.

    1. Hi,
      I’d go see your orthodontist and ask if you should go back to wearing your retainer full time. My patients wear retainers full time for at least six months which allows the memory in the gum tissue elastic fibers to change over many times reducing relapse.

      1. Yea i will speak to him about wearing it for 6 more months straight. I did wear it full-time for 2-months straight before he had me switch to nightly use.

        From what you are saying i get the impression then that the sole reason for my canine opening into a diastema is because of these gingival fibers and if i do indeed keep my retainer in for 6 more straight months it should at least reduce (but not ever eliminate) relapse into a diastema as quickly? Right now the diastema comes in after about 4 hours when my removable retainer is taken out.

        And can you answer me this: Is the last thing an ortho wants to do is remove the existing permanent lingual retainer and place a new, longer one in to hold the canine in place since by doing so it may render the existing removable retainer less correct since the cemented new lingual wire is different from what the removable retainer was molded for?

        I am just amazed how quickly the relapse happens on this tooth (only a few hours) — i wouldnt expect gum fibers to be this strong to move a tooth that quickly; it seems more like just the tooth is getting pushed and then resettling when the pressure is removed, not the fibers.

        1. I don’t use fixed retainers that much because I like dealing with natural forces placed on the teeth after braces are removed. The fixed lingual retainer will either break or come off eventually and usually the patient isn’t under the orthodontists care at that time. Then natural forces come into play and the teeth shift. If you have pressures from opposing or adjacent teeth, those natural forces need adjusted to obtain a stable occlusion at this time.

  47. i have got tmj problem, wore night guards didn’t work, some occlusion problem was detected, my teeth are interfering each other while making contact. So the Dentist whom i’m treating with has made a MORA (Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance) for me. I’ve been wearing it for last 3 weeks but there is still discomfort. How long should these appliance should be wore ? Is there chance the appliance doesn’t work?

    1. Hello,
      You meed to wear the appliance as instructed. Sometimes a patient has to wear their appliance for a life time and there is always a chance it will not relieve your symptoms.

  48. Hi after getting my teeth extracted and wisdom teeth surgery, the other side of my face has become more swollen, i notice that i have a canker sore on the tooth where it was extracted what can i do ??

  49. Hello Dr.,

    I went through the full braces treatment starting in 5th grade all the way until the summer before eighth grade. At the start of eighth grade, i wore my retainers 24/7 for a full year, then about six months after that I wore them only at night.

    It’s been about a year and a half and I haven’t worn my retainers much since, maybe once in a blue moon. Each time there would be a lot of pressure with a little pain, but I could get them to stay in place without falling out in a couple of minutes. If I, right now, start to wear them 24/7 for the next couple of months, could my teeth be moved back to normal?

    I recently went to the dentist, and he said my upper teeth haven’t shifted at all, but my lower teeth shifted a little bit. So I guess that’s one consolation.

    Basically can I correct this by wearing my retainers over summer, and then overnight past that?


    1. Hi Alex,
      Yes, if you wear your retainers full time, they may move the teeth back to where they were when braces were removed. Once in good positions, continue wearing the retainers into your 20s.

  50. I just realized, i think, it may be stuck food small amount of food stuck in stitches from wisdom teeth removal . It’s white…and yeah i think its from food. Is there any way i could get that out? How? I don’t want to get rid of it by using a toothpick, i might damage it more. And how do i brush my teeth without touching the wisdom teeth area and my other teeth that has been removed THANKS SO SO MUCH.

    1. Hello,
      You need to use a soft bristled toothbrush and lightly brush the area around the extraction site.

  51. Hi Dr.Thompson,

    I am adult and 26 yrs of age. I will have my braces this coming Friday. I already informed my orthodontist about the problem on my upper right central incisor that was half-broken. What my previous orthodontist did is to bond my tooth and restored it back using a crown cap.
    I am wondering where will He put my bracket knowing that I have a broken central incisor. I’m thinking that the bond will give up since its getting too much pressure from the brace.

    Looking forward for your reply.
    Thanks Doctor.

    1. Hi Lance,
      Your orthodontist should place the bracket in the ideal position. We do not worry about where the bonding begins or ends. The bonding should be able to withstand any forces placed on it by the braces. The only time the bonding may fail is when your braces are removed. You need to remind your orthodontist about the bonded tooth when the braces are removed so the bracket can gently be removed.

  52. Hello again
    Ive had my Hawley retainers for three weeks now and i know that my gap shouldn’t be closed by now but i believe that i should start to see a difference but I’m not, and my retainers don’t feel like they are working at all as in they don’t feel tight so they aren’t closing the gap. How long does it take for hawley retainers to close a gap. also if my tooth is slightly wonky will it affect the closing of my gap.

    1. Hi,
      It depends on how large the gap is. Teeth move about a millimeter a month. Also, closing spaces created by rotated teeth are much harder to do with a retainer.

  53. Hi I just got braces and I’m in extreme pain I keep putting on the wax on my teeth but it just doesn’t work when do u think the pain can go away please help pain help

  54. Hello umm I’m AMY and I just got my braces I left another question above this,the day I got my braces yesterday I was in bad pain but I notice my permanent teeth loose and every time I touched it It would be more and more pain. IS THAT BAD plz answer both of my question

    1. Hello Amy,
      Usually teeth don’t get loose so quickly immediately after braces are placed but it can happen. Especially if it is a primary tooth.

      Every person who undergoes treatment with braces will get loose teeth. They become mobile. This is really noticeable when the wire is out and being changed. As soon as your braces are removed at the end of treatment, your teeth will firm right back up.

      1. So what your saying is having loose teeth is normal. Oh and I have another question how long will it take until I can eat normal again without thinking somthing will happen to my braces

        1. Yes, it is normal for teeth to be slightly loose during treatment. It will take about a week before it will feel normal when you chew.

  55. Hi, so my clear retainer cracked today, and I can’t see my orthodontist for a couple days. It’s a straight crack from top to the bottom between my eye tooth and molar. I’ve only had my retainer for just over a month, I had braces for 3 years before that because my jaw was to small to support my teeth, so they had to remove 8 teeth(4 in front, and all 4 wisdoms), so I needed the braces to move everything back together. What should I do? Glue it? Or will it be fine to go that long without wearing it(Btw it hurts if I go a night without wearing it)? Is there something I can do immediately to help?

    1. Hello,
      If the clear plastic retainer is in two pieces, wear the part that covers your front incisors. If you are scared of wearing it at night time, wear the longer part during the day. I’d call your orthodontist and tell them that it has broken. They may see you earlier than your normal appointment. If it is just cracked and not in two pieces, continue to wear the retainer as instructed. Don’t try to glue it. It will not work. If there is a sharp edge that keeps you from wearing it, round that part off with a pair of scissors.

  56. Hi, I’ve had braces top and bottom for about six months now, and yesterday when I went for my tightening appointment the ortho put a power chain on some of my lower back teeth to try and get my canine tooth which is twisted to turn round. But I’m concerned because the little spring part of the power chain is touching another tooth as it passes between canine and back molar. This tooth it touches is not in great condition and doesn’t have a bracket on it for that very reason. I’m worried the spring will grind away at this tooth it touches, or cause plaque build-up because it’s difficult to clean around. I’ve tried inserting dental wax in between this tooth and the spring, but that’s hard to do because the spring is taut. What should I do? Should I contact my ortho about this?

    1. Hi Beth,
      First, the spring will not abrade the enamel. I’d advise that you be aggressive in your brushing and push the bristles in-between the spring and the tooth. Finally, on your next visit, ask your orthodontist to place a step out bend to bend the wire away from the tooth and place more distance between the spring and the tooth. I don’t think you need to go in for a special visit.

  57. Two issues

    1)I went and got a consultation and I was told that I would need an expander on lower teeth. It is not the expander with key hole but looks more like the space ‘maintainer’ I wore as child. Is it possible that I have a minor problem or do I need jaw surgery.

    2) I travel a lot on business and I am concerned about keeping treatment consistent. At times, I can be out of the country for up to six months. I really need braces, but I know orthodontist do not like to work with patients on temporary bases. Help!

    1. Hi Jen,

      1. Usually slight expansion of the lower jaw does not indicate the need for jaw surgery.

      2. For long periods of time, you will need your braces adjusted. There is a directory of Orthodontists published by the American Association of Orthodontists. The directory lists orthodontists worldwide. You can also find orthodontists via their website: http://mylifemysmile.org You should be able to find an orthodontist that will work with you. If you can’t find someone, your orthodontist can make the braces work over a long period of time by using Nickel Titanium wire and use wire ties that do not become weak and discolor like the elastic ties.

  58. Thanks for your prompt response. Strangely enough, I am looking forward to getting braces.

    Thanks again!

  59. Hi,
    I recently got my second wisdom teeth bracketed. My ortho said that everything will be “perfect” once these last two teeth are aligned. However, he refuses to give me an estimate on how long I will have my braces. What do you think?

    1. Hi,

      It all depends on how the 2nd molars are positioned and how much space is available. My guess, 3 to 6 months to get them into alignment.

  60. Hi doc, it has been two weeks now since my 4 wisdom teeth and other (pre molars?) extraction. So i just noticed, on my left lower teeth, 3rd from the back of the wisdom teeth(which was already removed) There is some kind of a white string (maybe) hanging out, was wondering if you have any idea of what it is based on the information i just said. I am not sure though if it’s a stitch? Or maybe it could be a food i have eaten that got stuck in there? I am scared to floss it cause it has only been 2 weeks? Should it be alright to floss and brush that area? I tried removing it by floss really carefully, however i am scared to push it right in as i am afraid of what could happen. I tried removing it by my fingers by it kind of hurts, could it be food particles that got bigger and hard to remove or something? Thanks. I hope you can answer or have an idea about my concern? Thanks again.

    1. Hello,
      It is probably an absorbable suture that will disintegrate and fall out in near time. You need to not baby the area since it has been two weeks. Keep the area clean by brushing and flossing.

  61. Hi,
    In December I got my braces off after having them for about 2 years. I wore my clear retainer religiously every night until about three weeks ago when I accidentally threw it out at school. I went back to the orthodontist to get a new mold for a retainer but my problem was my teeth had already shifted. I began with an extremely large gap in between my top two teeth (large enough for my pinky to go through it) and my teeth have already shifted back to a smaller gap but it is very visible. I was given a Hawley retainer but it doesn’t close the gap and it is a concern. Should I tell my orthodontist?? Should I get braces or invisalign again?? I don’t know what to do!! Thanks.

    1. Hi Mary,
      A patient who has a large diastema (gap) between the central incisors has a large chance of the space trying to return. In your case, you need to discuss this gap with your orthodontist. I would suggest a hawley retainer with finger springs to close the space. The finger springs are extra wires coming out of the hawley retainer to push the central incisors together closing the gap. Once the gap is closed, I’d bond a small wire on the back side of the central incisors to keep the gap closed. This fixed retainer may have to be worn for years or for life.

      If the space is too large for a hawley to close the space, then active clear aligners or braces can be used.

  62. So i can and it is okay? to still brush and floss around the area of where wisdom teeth were extracted right?

  63. Hi I’m Lucy, soon I will be having surgery to straighten a tooth. I will be having retainers after and my questions is how long will it take to make the retainer ( the metal one)?

    1. Hi,
      Lead times for a hawley retainer can be 1 week to 4. It depends on whether the retainer is made in-house at the orthodontist’s office or at an outside lab and how many retainers are in front of yours.

  64. Hello,

    I had braces as a teenager (I am 26 now), and wore my retainer for many years. Two of years ago, my retainer was left in a hotel room. Now, my teeth have started to shift a little, and I was hoping to get a corrective retainer. My mother said that many years ago, she was able to get a retainer that had screws to adjust it, and was able to get her teeth back into good shape (for somewhere around $300).

    I went to an orthodontist about a week ago, and they told me that I would need to get “Invisalign Express”. Since I’ve already paid for braces, I wasn’t expecting to have to pay thousands of dollars to essentially have braces again. Are corrective retainers still being made? Do I need to find another orthodontist?

    Thank you so much,

    1. Hi,

      All types of appliances, like corrective retainers, are still being made. The main thing is that your orthodontist chooses the right type of appliance to get the job done. Every orthodontist has certain appliances they are use to working with and they are familiar with the types of results they offer. You may need to consult with a couple of orthodontists to find the one you want to work with.

  65. Hi, what can i and cannot eat while i am on my braces? Can i eat soft bread and fries? What else?

  66. Ive had my bracket come off my crown tooth like every 2 weeks, and my ortho dentist is saying the only that can be done is to put it back on every time it comes off… Is this the only thing that can be done?

    I also want to know why he placed my bracket up so close to my gum line? I aske and he just says that’s how they suppose to be.

    Thanks, Tara

  67. I am 36 years old and had braces when I was a kid. Since then my bottom teeth have become crooked and lately I have become increasing aware of my top teeth being misaligned with my nose. I had a consultation and he measured me 3mm misaligned on the top and my bottom midline was also to the left like the top but not as severe. My lower back teeth on the right side bite too far behind the upper back teeth. I also have a deep vertical overlap between upper and lower front teeth. He suggested an extraction of maxillary right second premolar to correct the alignment. If I did not want to get the tooth pulled he would use a Twinfoce bite corrector (a big ugly scary spring!) which he says a full midline correction will not be obtained. I also may need to have elastic wear with either method. I am concerned about pulling the tooth. How would you go about this? Thanks

    1. Hello,

      These types of treatment decisions are based on clinical examination and evaluation of the records. Since you have a midline shift to your left, extraction of an upper right tooth and closure of that space is a reasonable treatment plan. The reason not to extract would be if there was a reasonable chance the space would open up slightly post braces due to the size of the upper jaw. This is a determined clinically and by looking at the models.

      Continued consultation with your orthodontist can shed more light on this decision and make the decision more clearer.

  68. Hi,

    I’m 14 and I’ve had my braces for nealy a year now, I went to get my orthodontist today to get them tightened but a few months ago I got this band put on my front 4 teeth to close the gaps and after getting that changed today, around one of my teeth is all swollen and sore, is this normally?

    1. Hello,
      It is normal for gum tissues to enlarge as the gaps close. Slowly they will go down in size after braces are removed. Flossing & brushing the areas will also help with reducing the swollen gums.

  69. How long does it usually take for 2 canines to go down? And 2 teeth sort of like going backwards

    1. Hello,
      Normal treatment time for fixed appliances (braces) is 18 to 24 months.

  70. Hi!

    I’m getting my braces in 2 weeks (train tracks) top and bottom teeth costing Β£2,500. They said I could get an expander for an extra Β£650. The dentist said it would be a much better job if I did get it as my top jaw is a bit narrow, as is the roof of my mouth and there isn’t a whole pile of space to work with. The dentist said it would create more space on my jaw line and then give more room to work with. I am a 30 year old male if that helps.


    1. Hi,
      If the orthodontist thinks an RPE is needed for better results, then I’d have it done. Usually treatment fees are not separated out like that. Since you are an adult, your teeth will move more than the palatal bone since the palatal suture is closed at your age. Read my article “What is a Rapid Palatal Expander” for more information.

  71. Hi I am Gracie and I left my retainer at my mom and I am own the 12 hours with my retainer so are my teeth going to move ofer night if I don’t wear my retainer

    1. Hi Gracie,
      It sounds like you left your retainer at your Mom’s and you’re asking if your teeth will move because you didn’t wear them for twelve hours. If that is so, just get back to wearing your retainer as soon as possible because your teeth can shift.

  72. Any ideas on how to fix a slight underbite aside from surgery? Can rubber bands fix this? 17 y/o. Thanks

    1. Hello,

      There are different ways to correct an underbite and each treatment plan is selected based on various criteria that the examination and records show. In some cases, elastic wear will correct an underbite. In other cases, one or two premolar extractions can be performed and as the space is closed the underbite is corrected. In severe cases, surgery is the only option.

  73. Hello. I just got my braces removed and got the fixed retainers on the upper and the lower sides. My gums are swelled and i have notices spaces on the lower sides which werent there when the braces were removed. Will these spaces fill after my gums return to their normal condition and do spaces still close after the braces have been taken off?
    Thank you

    1. Hi,
      Spaces can be a problem after braces are removed for some patients. Whether a space closes or not depends on where the space is located, how large it is and if you started with spaces before treatment. Some patients have teeth that are small in width or they have arch circumferences that are too large for their teeth causing spacing. Normally, spaces will close over time after braces are remove but it cam take some time. At your next visit, tell your orthodontist about the spaces that have opened up. They may want to change to an active retainer or clear plastic aligner to close the spaces.

  74. Hi
    Iv recently had a new retainer made as my teeth either side of my big teeth had moved out of place, so this retainer is meant to move them back in place. I got told to wear the retainer full time for 7 days then I could go back to wearing it just on a night. Should I have seen improvement in my teeth by day 6?im worried it’s either not working or I need to wear it full time for longer than they said.

    Thank You

    1. Hello,
      If you haven’t seen any change in the lateral incisors, I’d continue to wear the retainer full time. It won’t hurt. Call your orthodontist and tell them that you haven’t seen any change and you want to continue to wear it full time.

  75. hi, how do orthodontist determines poor oral hygiene while on braces? I have an appointment with my orthodontist to check my oral hygiene. How do i clean my teeth with braces

    1. Hello,

      An orthodontist determines poor oral hygiene by looking at your gum tissue and the amount of plaque present. If they see heavy plaque or red marginal gingivitis or swollen guns, then you have poor oral hygiene.

      The best way to clean your teeth is by using a regular toothbrush first and push the bristles under the wire and around the brackets. Rinse your mouth free of toothpaste. Visually look at your teeth and then again use the wet toothbrush to remove any plaque left over. After manual toothbrushing, use an electric toothbrush, like the Braun Oral-B electric toothbrush. to go over the teeth again. Make sure the electric toothbrush head gets around the brackets and under the wire. Finally, floss with superfloss.

  76. Hello,

    I had my braces removed one and a half weeks ago. I am quite displeased with the results. To be honest, they are a huge deal better than they were before I started treatment. My lower central incisors were almost in a zig zag pattern and one of my upper lateral incisors was far back my upper palate. By the end of treatment, these were back in their rightful places and I did not need any teeth extracted except my “wisdom” teeth.

    However, after years of wear and tear, my bottom row of front teeth and my impacted tooth have taken on a not-so-straight appearance on the surface (the bit you use to chew). Some are curved on the top, one is worn down below the others and the upper lateral incisor (now moved forward) appears very small (shows lots of gum above). Most of my teeth do not match each other in terms of height and shape. Even though each tooth is in it’s rightful spot, the uneven shape of my teeth make me still feel dreadful about my smile.

    On top of this, I have as of the past few days noticed that one of my upper central incisors has grown longer than it’s twin and has taken on a strange shape. I have been wearing my retainer as specified by my orthodontist.

    I am worried as to whether my retainers aren’t doing their job and I don’t want braces again. So, now that you know my background story, here are my questions:

    1. What should I do about the irregular and uneven shape of my teeth? Is dental filing an option, and is that possible?

    2. What can I have done about my exposed gums/small tooth problem? The unevenness makes my teeth look pretty strange and irregular.

    3. Should I make an appointment with my orthodontist and get my “longer” front tooth checked out?

    Overall, my teeth need “trimming” and “symmetrical” fixes – they all appear to be in the right place. It feels like only half the job has been done in helping me achieve a nice smile.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi,
      1. What should I do about the irregular and uneven shape of my teeth? Is dental filing an option, and is that possible? Yes, enameloplasty is performed daily in orthodontic offices. It is common for teeth to slightly shift even with retainer wear and sometimes enamel can be removed to fix the uneven symmetry.

      2. What can I have done about my exposed gums/small tooth problem? The unevenness makes my teeth look pretty strange and irregular. You can ask your orthodontist if you need referred to a periodontist. The periodontist can perform a tooth lengthening procedure to create symmetry. Since you just had your braces removed, I would wait six months for your gum tissue to reduce back to normal size before considering gum surgery.

      3. Should I make an appointment with my orthodontist and get my β€œlonger” front tooth checked out? Yes, you should have regular retention checkups with your orthodontist for at least two years after braces are removed. The retention phase of treatment is very important so that stability and esthetics can be created as the natural forces take over.

  77. What does my ortho mean by putting a thicker wire on? Does it also mean that I am getting my braces off soon? Thanks

    1. Hi Taylor,

      An orthodontist uses different sizes of wire over the course of treatment. To keep the discomfort low, small flexible wires are used first to rotate the teeth and start to parallel the roots. Then thicker wires are used for torque and final adjustments. The cross-section of the wire is also different. We start with round wires and then go to rectangular wires. Each bracket has a milled slot in it that moves the tooth towards the direction we want them to move. As we switch to a rectangular wire, the slot of the bracket becomes more engaged with the wire and moves the tooth closer to where it should be. At the final stages of treatment, your orthodontist will start to place bends into the wires to place your teeth into the best positions. Read my article, “How Do Braces Work?” for more information.

  78. hello!
    I am 18 and got my braces off 2 years ago. I have had them twice and it adds up to about 8 years of braces counting both times i have had them. ( I got them in 2nd grade). My Doctor said to stop wearing my retainer at 18 but will my teeth move if i stop?

    1. Hi Meghan,

      After you stop wearing your retainer, your teeth can move. We want natural forces to take over however some patients have to wear retainers for life. There is no magic age that your teeth are set and will not move. You have to remember that if any force is placed on your teeth, it will move your teeth. Since you have had your braces twice, you may be prone to relapse more than most patients. It’s ok to wear your retainers after age 18. You won’t do any damage to your teeth or gum tissues. Every now and then you will need to have your retainer replaced or adjusted.

  79. Hi… I got braces over a year ago to fix spaces between my top teeth… I removed the braces last week and found that the spaces are gone but that the orthodontist decided to incline my teeth inwards, both top and bottom! I don’t like this inclined look at all and he had no reason to do it, when I asked he said that he thought it would look better. I feel like my bottom lip got thinner as a result and my facial dimensions changed. What can I do to fix this inclination? Will I need to wear braces again? If yes, then for how long? If not, what are my other options? Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      In my opinion, to fix the inclination, you may need braces again. Even though the inclination is within normal limits, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one person thinks looks good, another does not. Retreating has occurred in my practice. So, for some of my patients, after braces were removed, they didn’t like their positions. We retreated them. However, in some case, patient’s expectations are unrealistic and retreating will not help.

  80. Hello, I’m 13 years old and have braces on top and bottom. Recently I have noticed two bumps under my bottom front teeth. One is tiny and the other one is somewhat small. I would like to know if it could be my teeth moving that are causing these small bumps? (It happened a few weeks after having my braces tightened.) The small bumps are behind my front teeth next to my tongue. They are skin color and hurt if pushed hard enough.

    1. Hi,

      Since these bumps just appeared, I’d have your orthodontist look at them. Don’t push on them anymore. It could be root prominence, minor salivary glands, tori, enamel pearls, an abscess, etc. Just have them examined.

  81. I move around a lot, mainly to overseas postings at a year to two year periods. I am quite desperate to get braces but I am concerned that if I am half way though treatment for example, would I have to start all over again?! So, in other words, I give the orthodontist 5000 USD and after a year and half switch and down another 5000 USD?!
    Will an orthodontist just finish what is deemed necessary?

    1. Hi,

      Most patients spread their treatment payments over a two year period. In your case that would be best. Therefore, you are paying for treatment as it is rendered. If you transfer to another orthodontist, you make new arrangements with the new orthodontist. They may not continue with your old fee payment schedule and it may cost more than the original fee. The new orthodontist is not bound by the previous arrangements. Evaluate a couple of new orthodontist because they will quote different fees. Fees are usually based on how much more treatment is needed. The new orthodontist will usually use the braces that are placed and continue treatment from where the other left off.

      1. Thanks for your response.

        I am curious as too how much more a second orthodontist will charge. Is it a significant amount more or just maybe a thousand dollars more. Say, for example, I am fifteen months in treatment and I have an estimated 24 months plan, will the orthodontist except working with patient that just has about nine months left, or would be another two years again?
        I am desperate for braces but am worried about the uncertain events that could cost me lots of money and maybe damaged teeth.

        1. Melody,

          The second orthodontist wants to work with you and get your treatment completed. Patients transfer all the time. The second orthodontist will continue from where you are in treatment and try to complete treatment on time. Sometimes a couple of months are added because it takes some time in finding a new orthodontist. The fee varies from orthodontist to orthodontist and is based on how long it will take to finish treatment and local area market. Some markets are more expensive than others so the fee varies in that regard as well. When transferring from one to the next, consult with a handful of orthodontists before selecting one to continue treatment.

  82. My almost 16 year old son got his braces off 1 1/2 yrs ago and is at the point of only wearing his retainer at night. Last week he fell and broke one of his front teeth. Due to the nature of the break a root canal was needed and a temporary crown was placed. His permanent crown will be ready next week. The retainer doesn’t fit well with the temporary crown so he is holding off wearing it to see how it fits with the permanent crown and then if need be I will contact my orthodontist. My question is in situations like this does the retainer usually fit with the perm crown since is is made from the mold they took from his mouth? Or will there be a chance he may need a new retainer? And also besides the concern with the retainer do you think any further orthodontic treatment may be necessary due to this break?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi,

      Your son needs his old retainer adjusted so he can wear it now. He is not done growing and needs to continue night wear. That can easily be done. After the permanent crown is placed, he will need a new retainer. In my opinion, your son only needs retainer follow ups.

  83. hello
    my daughter has had her braces on for 18 months. she is scheduled to get spacers and bands and than removal. is it common to add these right before getting the braces off??

    1. Hi,

      Yes, it is not uncommon to place bands right before braces are removed. In some cases, certain teeth need to be moved just a little, in one or two months, before braces removed.

  84. Hi, My 7 year old daughter has a constricted maxilla, upper and lower crowding with anterior open-bite with tongue thrust, Class 1 with 3 tendency. Just wondering if RPE with tongue crib or speech therapy (she speaks perfectly) would be your initial preferred method for correction. I’ve read a bit on the subject and see that therapy seems to have great success. I understand braces are still in her future. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Hi,

      I would begin with a rapid palatal expander first followed by the tongue crib. Since she has Class III tendencies, I may even consider braces for about one year to slow the growth of the lower jaw and stimulate growth of the upper. I would not consider speech therapy unless the tongue comes too far forward during pronunciation.

  85. I have been using crest 3D white toothpaste for 8 months now and i get my braces off in 2 months. I saw on the internet that if you use whitening toothpaste it will cause white spots under the brakets. So if i change from whitening toothpaste to regular toothpaste will I have white spots if I get my braces off in 2 months.

    1. Hi,

      Crest 3D whitening toothpaste will not create white spots under your braces. It will prevent white spots from forming. If you are concerned, you can start using a regular toothpaste. White spots around the brackets are decalcification areas from not keeping the plaque off of your teeth during treatment. If you haven’t brushed your teeth well over the course of treatment, you may have white spots when the brackets are removed.

  86. Hi Doctor, congrats for such an informative site. I am 23 and I had ceramic braces 5 months back (2 Upper Premolars extracted). Every week some or the other rubber band tied to the brackets either pops out as it is or broken up. My dentist has changed all the rubber bands with the thick ones almost 15 days back but that is also not helping as again 2 of them (on front teeth) popped out a week back. These bands on front teeth pops out the most. Whenever I ask him about the reason for same he says he also does not understand. I am not even eating any hard or sticky food but still problem does not seem to end. Please advise. Thanks.

    1. Hello,

      There can be a couple of reasons for the elastic ties to continue to come off. 1) It’s possible that the ceramic wings that hold the elastic ties onto the bracket are not very thick or developed well. Ceramic brackets are casted glass that are milled. To keep the companies from suing each other they make their ceramic brackets just a little different. So there could be a design flaw. Just an idea. 2) The elastic ties may have deteriorated in the box over time before use and they are weak. Some colors are used frequently and there is good turn over, some don’t. Some types of elastic ties are weaker than others due to their color. Clear elastic ties are weak and not used often. I’d suggest changing to peril. It’s a little stronger than clear and also blends with the ceramic bracket.

      Finally, your ties may stay on better if they are tied in a specific way in the shape of a figure eight. Most ties are placed in a rectangle shape around each wing of the bracket. In a figure eight configuration, the tie is stretched more and forces are placed on the wings in different directions which may keep them on better. Those are some of my thoughts without looking at your braces.

    2. Hey uhm i got braces for the first time today and i noticed my wire has a little black stain what is it ??

      1. Hi,
        That black mark indicates the center of the wire. All wires are marked that way so the arch form is not placed off center.

  87. Hi – my daughter had 4 bicuspids pulled (top and bottom) and about a year into treatment I realized her top teeth had shifted to her left and her bottom teeth had shifted to her right. Basically whatever space was left seemed to close on one side only, and each top and bottom shifted to the opposite side. Her midlines are now way off and she had a space on the opposite sides on top and bottom. When we mentioned this to the orthodontist he seemed surprised – it was like he had not noticed. I was not reassured – I’m not sure how you could miss totally uneven spacing when before it was even. He said he would pull the top teeth back to the right and she was wearing an elastic from the R top canine to the bottom molar for a while and there is a chain on the top from the R back molar to the R canine. This has continued for a few appts and while the R canine has moved a bit and the space is now mostly in front of the canine, she is no longer wearing any elastics and her top midline is no better after 4 months. He also put a chain across the entire bottom teeth which closed the space that was on the left, but the bottom midline isn’t centered with her face. I’m a bit concerned this midline problem (which wasn’t there before braces) is not going to be able to be fixed adequately. How long could it take to shift the teeth back to where they should be? Also, if there is now no space left on the bottom, how can the bottom midline be corrected? I’m not sure why he would completely close the space when the midline is not even close to being centered. I’m not sure how long I should give him to correct the problem before I start to look at other options. Given she’s no longer wearing an elastic to pull the teeth over, I’m not sure how a further shift will be accomplished. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hello,

      Upper and lower dental midlines can be corrected through rubber band wear. Anterior interarch diagonal elastics plus Class III elastics on one side and Class II on the other allows for correction of the midlines even if spaces are completely closed. I cannot estimate how long it would take in your daughter’s case but it can take many months even up to a year.

  88. Hi, I have a question. I am 15 years old, my teeth are naturally straight (never had braces), but my jaw/tooth midlines are not even. In other words my bottoms jaw is shifted more to the right. Is there any way of getting this fixed? Do I have to get braces or something like that? Thanks ahead for the help Doctor! πŸ˜€

    1. Hi Caleb,

      In most cases, patients usually present with a lower midline that is shifted to one side or the other. This is usually due to the mandible not growing properly on one side. To shift lower midline, braces should be used with elastic wear.

  89. Hi my name is Sarah

    I went to the orthodontist for my consultation and my orthodontist said that I would need braces for my crowding and a herbst appliance for me over bite and open bite. After the constellation with the orthodontist we went to the secretary who explained to us our plan and scheduled us for 3 appointments, the first for braces, the second for the bands for the herbst appliance, and the third for the actual herbst. We went in a couple weeks layer for the first appointment and the orthodontists assistant had me all ready to put the braces on and the orthodontist came in and said we weren’t doing braces for at least 6 months maybe even more and that was when I was confused. She said that we were only doing spacers today and then in six weeks we would put the herbst in. That was not what the secretary had said. Now I’m thinking that I should get a second opinion but the problem is that my mom already paid for everything in whole and they don’t do refunds or rebates.

    1. Dear Sarah,
      The sequence of treatment is determined by your doctor. I would not seek a second opinion. An orthodontist treatment plans and diagnosis treatment at each visit. Your treatment plan will change during treatment and I would not worry about it. If you are curious, ask your orthodontist, not anyone else, what he/she has planned and when certain items will be used.

  90. hey there, i appreciate all your work here and your time.
    I got my brace this month and i will be having them for 18 months long.
    I have the normal braces which is metal not the transparent and I have done it in Chicago then I moved to Kentucky, my Q is how much would it cost to tightening it because my insurance does not cover any braces costs.

    thanks in advance Dr.



    1. Hi Matt,
      Fees vary from orthodontist to orthodontist and is based on how much treatment is left to do. You will have to consult with a couple of orthodontists to find the one you want to go with.

  91. hello,
    I havent been wearing my retainers that often, causing my bottom front two teeth to rotate a little. its not a lot
    by wearing my retainer will it rotate them back or will i be stuck with them like this?

    1. Hi,
      Wear your retainer as instructed. At your next visit, tell your orthodontist which teeth are moving back and forth. They will make adjustments to your teeth (enameloplasty) and your retainer to lessen their movement.

  92. When I was younger, I had braces. I lost 2 retainers and never got a 3rd one but instead, I got a permanent one behind my bottom teeth but they said they could not put one on my top teeth and over the past 5 years, my top teeth have become a little gapped. I want invisalign to fix the gapping but I am curious if it would be possible to just get only my top teeth done, considering my bottom teeth are all really straight. However, if that is not possible and I would need all of my teeth done, would I need to get the permanent retainer taken out?


    1. Hi Samantha,

      One arch treatment can be done. If full braces are applied upper and lower, the lower fixed retainer has to be removed.

  93. First, thank you for providing a very informative site. My son will be 8 years old in a few weeks. His orthodontic problems are listed as: Classification II, 8mm Overjet, 50% Overbite, and Crowding-upper & lower 3mm. We are proceeding with a two phase treatment option.
    Ten days ago, he had braces placed on both the upper and lower teeth (with archwires and two molar bands on upper) and sent home with headgear. My son has been a trooper and wearing his headgear every night, keeping it on as close to 12 hours as instructed. He is also very compliant with what he is eating (and not eating) as well as brushing multiple times a day. However, over the last ten days he has had four brackets come off (one bracket has come off twice). The brackets are all on primary teeth. The orthodontist stated during the last visit that he will be bypassing those teeth (leaving them w/o brackets) but for now he just clipped the wires. He explained that sometimes it is difficult to get the cement/bonding to adhere to primary teeth. How will that affect his overall treatment?
    Additionally, after being at the ortho’s office yesterday (clipping the wires and removing the most recent brackets that came loose) and having all the other “pieces” checked, we were sent home only to then have a molar band come off while he was brushing his teeth before bed. I have made an appointment to have this fixed but to be honest, my husband and I are becoming very frustrated that the appliances or pieces don’t seem to want to stay on our son’s teeth.

    Are there any other options to address my son’s orthodontic issues? What options are there when dealing with primary teeth in a young child? We are committed to correcting our son’s overbite and overjet because it will greatly improve his quality of life (he has a hard time right now closing his lips) as well as his smile. I don’t want to give up yet on the braces. The orthodontist’s office doesn’t have evening hours and my husband and I have had to take a lot of time off work in the last 10 days to fix these issues. We can’t continue to take time off like this.

    1. Dear Linda,

      I would advise that you continue your son’s treatment because he has an 8mm overjet and deep bite that needs correction now. It is true that the adhesive will not adhere to primary enamel like permanent enamel. The primary enamel rods are oriented differently and shorter than adult enamel which weakens the bond strength.

      I consider breakage in the young child going through phase I treatment as normal. We do not use an adhesive that will hurt the enamel so it a weak to begin with. There could be a couple of reasons for the breakage. 1) Using primary teeth. 2) The overbite is too deep and the occlusion is causing the breakage. The deepness of the bite will lessen with treatment and less chance of breakage will occur over time. 3) The quality of the enamel is weak. Genetics and some environmental issues can play a roll in how strong the enamel is when it forms.

      To decrease breakage, bands can be placed on some of the primary teeth instead of bonded brackets. I can’t think of any other options except addressing the problems at a later date which will be harder to correct. I hope that helps.

  94. Hello just had my brace off they done my moulds then got my retainer but I have just looked at my teeth and they left some sort of bracket on the upper inside off my making my retainer not feel right on that side

    1. Hi,

      You need to go back to your orthodontist and have that bracket removed so you can wear your retainer.

  95. hello,
    i am wondering how long would i need to have braces on, because my teeth has gaps between them and their not very big, just big enough to get floss between them. my teeth are perfectly lined up straight and none of them are squish not even a tiny bit, its just the gaps and my 2 front teeth stick out a little bit, how long would i need to have braces on ?

    1. Hi Jasmine,
      It is difficult for me to give you a good estimate of treatment time without an examination. Treatment time varies from 12 months to 24 months with the majority the latter.

  96. would i be able to keep braces on for less then 10 months? and am i allowed to take them off when i want them off

    1. You can always discontinue treatment at any time however your teeth may not be in ideal positions.

  97. Hello
    I have had a Fastbraces brace on my lower teeth for 4 months, and with one more adjustment, the teeth seem almost ready to be debraced. However, I am very unhappy with the way my dentist is behaving towards me – he does not seem interested in completing, recently cancelled an appointment and says he has no appointments available for me. Are the tools (pliers etc) specific to each system, and do I need to go to a dentist who uses the same system (Fastbraces) to have the brace work finished and removed, or would it be possible to go to an orthodontist who uses a different system such as the damon system?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi.
      You cam transfer to any orthodontist to finish your treatment and be debanded. Fastbraces just uses a different type of bracket than traditional edgewise or self ligating braces. Your orthodontist may not like working with them, but tooth movement is all the same no matter what bracket is used.

  98. Last week I had canine exposure surgery and a gold chain was glued to the impacted tooth. As I currently have no wire on that side of my braces the gold chain was stitched to my gum. However, today the chain has become loose and is hanging down freely in my mouth. I do not have an appointment with the orthodontist for another month. What should I do?

    1. Hello,
      This can happen and is not a problem. You can leave the chain hanging down and not have it reattached if it is not bothering you. If it is bothering you, you’ll need to see your orthodontist to have it attached to your wire.

  99. Hi,
    I got my braces a few days ago(July 24) and today I woke up with two black spots on the right top side of two braces. I noticed some blue ones too but i known those are for them to know where to place them. Would the black ones come off with time?

    1. Hello,
      Brackets are color coded for each quadrant of the mouth so there is usually four different colors. This color dot is located on the distal gingival wing of the bracket and helps identify what bracket we are looking at. They do look about the same but there is a specific bracket made for each tooth. The color dot will come off over time.

  100. So I get my braces off tomorrow but I have a small gap in between my two front front teeth. I first noticed it when my dentist flossed my teeth but now I can notice it Even more. I am super worried that I won’t get them off. It is super small but floss could probably go through it easily. Will I still get them off tomorrow?

    1. Hello,
      It depends on how large the gap is and the decision of removing your braces is made by your orthodontist, parents and you. If you don’t like what you see, don’t take the braces off until it is resolved.

  101. My clear plastic retainers have started to fall out while I’m asleep. Does this mean that my teeth are misaligned? Should I see my orthodontist or keep wearing the retainers and hope that they will realign my teeth instead?

    1. Hello,
      Some patients subconsciously take their retainer out at night when sleeping. That is probably what you are doing. You may want to wear your retainer during the day instead. If you were suppose to get 7-8 hours of wear during the night, wear it during the day that same number of hours so that you will know you are getting the proper amount of wear.

  102. just curious if elastics also help with de-rotating a tooth? all of my rotated molars have successfully de-rotated with just metal ties and now have the regular rubber ligatures on them, however my right upper canine has been the rebel of the bunch and is taking its sweet time..it also was severely rotated in comparison to the other molars.my ortho has been putting a metal tie with a rubber ligature over it for extra pressure on the tooth and so far we’ve seen very little progress (its been two months of this) but my last appointment almost seven days ago he started me on elastics for my overbite that come and connect to my upper canines so thats why i ask if it might help to push that tooth along a bit. i can’t find any info online about it so I’m glad to have stumbled upon your page! I’m also twenty-three and i know adult teeth are a bit harder to move then adolescent teeth so being only five months into treatment I’m trying to stay patient about things, I’m just so excited to be getting beautiful teeth finally! lastly I’m curious if it normal for all of my appointments to be six weeks apart? only because i see a lot that peoples appointments are much closer together then this. this won’t lengthen my process i hope? any enlightenment on all of this is super appreciated!

    1. Hello,
      There are a couple of ways to rotate a tooth. 1) a nickel titanium wire with metal ties 2) open coil spring 3) elastic powerchain and 4) rubberbands.

      If your cuspids are rotate mesial, the rubberbands could rotate the tooth distal. Sometimes a tooth will not rotate until there is space created between them. This can be done by interproximal reduction of the enamel or an open coil spring.

      The distance between appointments varies from orthodontist to orthodontist. It just depends on what is being used and what the orthodontist is trying to accomplish. For example, a patient with nickel titanium wires can have appointments farther apart because the NiTi wire will continue to place pressure on the teeth until the wire returns to its original form. On the other hand, stainless steel wires work for just a short period of time and have to be reactivated.

  103. Hi I’m 13 years old and yesterday I had a retainer put in (Wednesday) this was supposed to move two of my back teeth but the front of the retainer ( clear plasticky part) is pushing hard into my top front two teeth and it is quite painful I have taken tablets but it still gives me a bit of pain and I’m scared it might push my two teeth forward when it shouldn’t! What should I do?

    P.s I’m from England

    1. Hi,
      When a retainer is placed to move teeth, you will feel pressure in a variety of places. For every force that an orthodontist creates there is a equal and opposite force generated. Therefore, with an active retainer, you will feel pressure in odd places. If your front teeth start to move in an adverse way, call your orthodontist for advice. Your retainer may need adjusted.

  104. My lateral incisors are far behind my two front teeth. is there a way to move these lateral incisors up in to proportion with my front teeth and canine without braces?

    1. Hi,
      Usually not. If there is any overlap between the central incisor and the laterial incisor, space has to be created to get the lateral incisors forward. In that situation, braces must be used.
      If there is space between the incisors then maybe a hawley retainer with fingersprings or a spring retainer may move the lateral incisors into position.

  105. hi,
    my daughter has quite a severe overbite but she is 13 years old what is the ideal thing for her to do?
    If braces is the best option what kind of braces would you recommend?

    1. Hello,
      First I would consult with an orthodontist very soon. It is best to correct the malocclusion with braces at a young age. The older she gets, the harder it is to correct the malocclusion.

      Braces come is all shape and sizes from different manufactures. But, in my opinion, the efficiency is the same. Some orthodontists will claim faster treatment times which has been disputed by research studies.

  106. I’ve had bite turbos for about 4 months and i got them removed. When i got them removed The orthodontist said brush gentley in that area. It’s a bit swollen near the place where they were. What is this?

    1. Hi,
      When bite turbos are placed, they are used to open the bite by being attached to the lingual side (back side) of the upper central incisors. As they are being used, plaque can accumulate around the bite turbos irritating the palatal gum tissue causing the gum tissue to swell, be inflamed. Keep brushing and flossing the area and the gum tissue will reduce in size and become healthy again.

  107. Hi,

    I am an adult with about 10% bone loss. I do have some black triangles. My mouth is now very healthy with normal pocket depths. Last year, I decided to get braces to correct a class III malocclusion and to correct spacing issues. The incisal edge of my upper lateral incisors has always been significantly higher (4-5mm) than my central incisors. During the first three weeks of my braces, my lateral incisors were extuded extremely fast. These teeth were loose and painful. The incisal edges eventually lined up with the centrals. The problem: the CEJ of these teeth is now much lower, and very prominent, and the volume of the black triangles has increased. My periodontist has recommended that these teeth be intruded back to their original position to bring the CEJ closer to bone level and to reduce the volume of black triangles. Composite or veneers will then be used to fill in the balance of the interproximal spaces. My orthodontist has started this process by placing bends in the wires, however, this seems like it is going to take quite a while.

    My question: With this slow intrusion, is there any guarantee that the teeth are going to move independently of the bone and gingiva? I am worried that my teeth and gums are simply going to be pushed higher. Would intruding these teeth with the same speed they were extruded make it more probable that the CEJ will return to bone level and the volume of my black triangles will be reduced? Can a TAD be used to intrude individual teeth more quickly?

    Thank you for this site. It is very informative.

    1. Hello,
      I cannot give you a good answer about the movement of the tooth and corresponding ending position of the gum tissue and bone in a periodontal condition. In a patient without periodontal problems, the gum tissue and bone move together with the tooth’s CEJ. To answer one of your questions, intrusion of teeth takes a lot longer time than extrusion. Also, a TAD could be used but the speed of intrusion will be the same. With intrusion, the forces are going against the periodontal ligament and very light forces have to be used for the tooth to actually intrude. With extrusion, the PDL does not inhibit the eruption of the tooth and it happens quickly.

  108. Hi, I had surgery done on my teeth to attatch a gold chain on to my adult canine that was burried underneath my gum in April and two days ago I had it attached to my braces to pull on it so that the tooth would come down. The next morning, I sensed that my mouth felt different and unusual but I ignored it. Now I am certain that my chain is not on my tooth anymore as I cannot see it or feel it and now the hole feels like it is starting to heal itself! I don’t know what to do and I feel panicked. Also where could the chain had gone? Would I have swallowed it. Is it possible that it would have fallen off? Please reply as soon as possible. Will I have to have my operation again? I’m very stressed right now…thank you for your time.

    1. Hello,
      When an oral surgeon tries to attach a bracket and chain on an impacted cuspid, it is very hard to do and the tooth is in a wet field and usually positioned deep into the palate. The position of the cuspid and the wet field can make it very difficult for the bracket to attach well to the enamel of the cuspid. When there is a failure, the chain will slowly pull the bracket through the gum tissue and become loose. The hole may heal closed. In your case, it sounds like both ends came loose and you swallowed it. If the cuspid is not close to eruption through the gum tissue, you may need to have the surgery performed again. You need to call your orthodontist first for an evaluation. He/She will refer you back to the oral surgeon if needed.

      1. Thank you so much, I’ve made an appointment with my orthodontist. I basically have an adult canine that has grown horizontal and then I had surgery to attach a gold chain on the canine and the plan was to have braces, link the gold chain to a button/bracket on the outside of my upper right six and hopefully that would have pulled on the canine, rotating it and pulling it down. The chain lasted for 4 months so why did it come off straight after it was linked to my braces? I hope this makes more sense. This is a very great and reassuring site.

        1. Thanks for the compliment. The chain lasted for 4 months so why did it come off straight after it was linked to my braces? I’d say the pressure from the braces or chewing forces caused it to fail. We do create pounds of pressure when we eat food.


    1. Hi,
      Nance appliances are used as a space maintainer and for anchorage. It has a purpose during treatment for a period of time. Eventually, it will be removed. If you are of legal age, you can discontinue treatment at any time. The orthodontist will probably stop seeing you as a patient as well.

  109. My daughter has a Blue Grass piece to help her not suck on her fingers. This is the 1st full day that she has this on and it hurts when she eats. We had it adjusted today because it was not fitting properly. Now it is fixed but she is crying because she does not feel like eating. It is rubbing the top of her mouth. What do you recommend?

    1. Hello,
      I’d go with soft foods she feels she can eat first. Give her some time to get use to the appliance. If any sores start to develop on the tongue or roof of the mouth, then see your orthodontist. If after a couple of days she is still not eating well, then consult with your orthodontist. The appliance will need adjustment.

  110. i wear elastics that go from my lower first molar tooth to my upper canine. on one side my orthodontist added a metal hook to help me put the elastic on. the side without the hook feels stronger than the one without. the one with i dont really feel anything. is this normal?

    1. Hi, Yes it can be normal. You need to talk to your orthodontist about it at your next visit. Even though it doesn’t feel like there is pressure, there is. Also, your orthodontist may want more pressure on one side to shift midlines and create a Class I relationship on both sides.

  111. Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m due to getting my braces off tommorow. I have had a really bad thing where I get paranoid and nervous that I am not able to get them off and I am just really nervous something will go wrong. Whenever I look at my bite I find little things or I think that my teeth are moving back. This may not make sense but the real question is when they tell you that you braces are coming off the next appointment, do they mean for sure? Should I be worried? Btw, I have had them on for a little over two years. Please reply Asap I am scared she will tell me that I have to have them on longer. Is this normal for patients that are about to get their braces off? Im soooooo scared, I really need someones help. Thanks

    1. Hi,
      Usually an orthodontist will indicate that at the next appointment the braces will be removed and that is normally what happens.

  112. Hi, my orthodontist gave me 2 of these retainers after having braces, essix and the hawley ones. I’m supposed to wear the hawley ones at night and essix in the day but when I take off the hawley in the morning, the top ones hurt when im trying to pull them off, and after I get them off and put on my essix ones, it feels all tight. What should I do?

    1. Hello, you need to explain to your orthodontist that your teeth are being moved by the hawley one way and the clear retainer is moving them back the other way. They will either adjust the hawley retainer or make a new clear retainer.

  113. I asked you this one “Hi, my orthodontist gave me 2 of these retainers after having braces, essix and the hawley ones. I’m supposed to wear the hawley ones at night and essix in the day but when I take off the hawley in the morning, the top ones hurt when im trying to pull them off, and after I get them off and put on my essix ones, it feels all tight. What should I do?” So now my question is: should I still wear my hawley ones until I could see my orthodontist or should I just wear the clear ones at night? The hawley ones hurt me when I take them off and the clear ones feels normal.

    1. Hello, the cost of treatment varies from orthodontist to orthodontist and depends on how long the treatment will take.

  114. hello,
    I am too much worried regarding my dental treatment.
    I have braces for more than a year but its not working at all.
    No movement , not a single change I have noticed,, πŸ™
    I have gummy smile so my orthodontist recommended me screws but still now she haven’t apply screws on my teeth.
    how long it will take?? πŸ™

    1. Hi,
      You need to bring your concerns in a conversation with your orthodontist. Ask, what progress has been made, what is being worked on right now and what treatment you should anticipate with general time frames. If you can’t get answers to your concerns, a second opinion with another orthodontist should be considered.

  115. Hi,

    When I was 10, I got my first set of braces and they were removed one year and two months later when I was 12. I was given a plastic retainer which I was told to wear once a week at night for the rest of my life, however I grind during my sleep – not badly to cause me much problem but enough to cause cracks in my retainer. I stopped seeing my orthodontist six months after my braces came out which is when my second molars started coming through furthering the pressure applied to the retainer. Over the course of another three months, this continued until my retainer snapped across the top; at this stage me and my Mum didn’t think we could go back as we thought the treatment had now ended.
    Fastforward four years when I’m 16, my bottom teeth were a mess. A bottom central tooth has come completly forward to expose nearly all the root and I have a canine sitting further back therefore appearing bigger,etc. This same year, I broke my front two upper teeth which were replaced with caps; my dentist decided to then refer me again for braces due to the state of my bottom teeth.
    I’m 17 and will be getting braces put in the bottoms tomorrow however I’ve spotted a hairline crack – from when I broke my teeth – through my bottom central tooth which is sticking out. How much will this be effected by my braces?
    Also my orthodontist still wants to give me a plastic retainer afterwards, can I ask for a fixed retainer as I’m concerned about the grinding again?

    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Becky, The braces should not bother your high line crack. Many people have hairline cracks and there are no problems. As far as retainers, I’d insist on hawley retainers since you grind your teeth and plastic retainers will not work for you.

  116. hi, my names Sophie and I’m 15 years old. I have an underbite and have been to my dentist about it. He said I would need to have braces and would send a letter off to the hospital where the orthodontist would send a letter for when I have to go see him. That was back in June, and I was wondering how long it takes for the orthodontist to send a letter for my appointment? I’m fed up of waiting, I want something to be done about it!

    1. Hello,
      It doesn’t take me long to write a letter. I write everyday to referring dentists. I’d talk to your dentist and find out what the hold up is.

  117. Hi,
    I currently have braces on and am ready for retainers anytime soon. I was just checking some ortho videos in you tube when i noticed some patients had all of their teeth installed with brackets and they have like a metal surrounding each last tooth. My ortho didn’t install brackets in all of my teeth only the ones that can be easily seen when i smile. My friend said the lmetal surrounding the last tooth is used to control the movement of the teeth? Was it a different kind of braces or mine’s ok as well?

    1. Hello,
      There are two types of braces, brackets bonded directly to the teeth and bands with brackets cemented onto the teeth. A band is a piece of metal that surrounds the tooth. It is the older style of braces. Some orthodontists like to cement bands on the molar teeth for good stability and because a band does not come off easily when chewing food whereas a bonded bracket may come off easily. For aesthetic purposes, bonded brackets are used on the anterior teeth and not bands.

  118. Hello,

    I am 28 and had my braces placed 3 months ago. At my last adjustment they replaced the 4 metal tie backs as well as individually tied in my botton front teeth to the arch wire with metal ties. Why would you do that?
    Also, do bottom teeth move slower than top teeth? My extraction gaps are almost completely closed on the top but my bottom teeth don’t appear to have moved at all.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Lindsey,
      Metal ties are used to push a flexible wire into the bracket slot better to rotate teeth whereas an elastic tie will not. Also, upper teeth do move faster than lower teeth. Good questions.

  119. Hi, my nance came unattached on one side of my mouth and is just hanging there. It is a Saturday and I have no way to get it fixed, because my orthodontist is closed. I need to know if there is a way to fix it because it’s gagging me and it hurts. Also, I can’t even eat anything. My birthday dinner is tonight, please help.

    1. Hi,
      Try calling your orthodontist, they may see you as an emergency over the weekend and recement the Nance. If not, then call your family dentist for help. Lastly, you can push the loose molar band back up around the molar with your fingers or if the other side is slightly loose you can wiggle the Nance out.

  120. Hi Dr. Thompson, I have a permanent retainer for my bottom teeth but after a year, the glue on one tooth at the end fell off so I went to my family dentist to get it glued back on (my Orthodontist is very far from where I live, she opens on Saturdays so I went there to get my braces. my dad did not want to travel 30 minutes to her office to get my retainer back on). However, after my family dentist did it 2 times, it fell again (this is the third time the glue on that tooth fell). My family dentist said he would ask to see if the insurance would cover for an actual metal or so retainer for my bottom teeth and I have to wait 2 weeks for the response (if the insurance covers it or not). He did not want to glue it the 3rd time since he claimed the insurance and it didn’t cover for the last two glueing times. Is there a special glue or something so I can temporary get it glue back in before getting a response from my dentist? I’m scared my tooth will move. My dad does not want to drive me all the way to see my orthodontist at all.

    1. Hello,

      The reason that the adhesive keeps coming off is either their is pressure from chewing food that makes it fail or the enamel on that tooth is very strong. I’d say the latter is correct and the enamel is so hard that the adhesive doesn’t bond well. The adhesive that we use is a mechanical bond and not a chemical bond. By mechanical bond, I mean that the adhesive uses the irregular surface of the enamel to make a physical bond. We use this type of bonding so that when we removed the adhesive, no harm is done to the enamel. There is not a stronger adhesive that can be used. Your best option is to see your orthodontist and have a removable hawley retainer made. That way you don’t have to worry about a fixed retainer coming loose. A 30 minute drive is not that far and it can be done cheaper.

  121. Hi doc, I have a problem with my speech. When I was about 5 or so, I slammed headfirst into a porcelain stool. It damaged the alignment of my teeth pretty badly, and numerous friends and family have pointed out problems with my speech since I I was young. Speech therapy hasn’t really helped fix the faulty sounds. It’s nothing as obvious as a lisp I don’t think, but my speech just sounds very airy and slurry. My “s, f and v” sounds don’t come out quite right (it sounds like there’s alot of air escaping) and my sh, ch, and j sounds sound slushy.

    There are a number of issues with my teeth. One of the front teeth (the left) is noticeably shorter than the other, there’s a slight gap between my teeth, and i have a midline shift to the right of about 3.5 mm. Also my upper and lower teeth are slightly protruded out, I think about 30 and 15 degrees more than the norm respectively.

    Could these issues affect my speech? It’s plagued me all my life, and I’ve always been afraid of social contact and speaking in general. It really has hurt my self esteem and I really want to fix it cause I’ve tried everything else. Thanks.

    1. Sorry, to elaborate abit more, due to the midline shift, the shorter tooth is in the middle of my mouth, so when i make the s sound the air now flows through the gap between the lengths of my two front teeth, instead of.. wherever it’s supposed to flow from.

      | | | |
      | | | |
      |___| | |
      (here) |____|

      Something like that.

      Also, in order to make a decent sounding s (not perfect), I need to shift my lower jaw about 3.5 mm to the left to align the upper and lower teeth, which makes connected speech pretty hard.

      That gap could also cause issues with f and v sounds. What do you think?

      1. Hello Chris,
        I believe tooth positions do effect speech. Certain sounds are produced by air coming across the edges of your incisors, so if they are not positioned properly, it would be harder to pronounce certain words. Consult with an orthodontist and get more information about correcting your malocclusion. After your occlusion is corrected resume speech therapy so you can get rid of any bad tongue habits.

  122. Hi, can I wear my retainer while swimming? If not, what do I wear or do I just wear nothing? Will my teeth move if I don’t wear them for like an hour of swimming?

    1. Hello,

      In my opinion, I think you can go without your retainers while you swim. After practice, resume normal wear.

  123. Hello,
    Today i got braces (assuming this is timestamped) at the age of 16 I am honestly not sure what the complete problem was but i had alot of crooked teeth and my front teeth was one of the few, i now have these two white things that are about 1 and a half the size of my two front teeth attached or glued to the back of my teeth they force me to move my lower jaw forward when i close my mouth and prevent me from using the side of my mouth to chew properly. I wanted to ask what is it, how long do they stay on and if you have a y tips on how to chew properly with them. Thanks for your time and help I greatly appreciate it.

    1. Hi,
      They are called bite turbos and they are used to allow posterior teeth to erupt to get rid of a deep bite. They can be in for months and it takes time to get use to them.

  124. I got my braces off about 2 weeks ago and I was told to wear my retainers day and night but I don’t really listen to my orthodontist and I wear my retainers all night and I wear them when I get back home from school since it seems that I really can’t get use to speaking with them on. What happens if I continue to do this? Would my teeth shift?

    1. Hi Hellen,
      Yes your teeth will shift. You need to wear your retainers full time as instructed.

  125. Hi,
    I am having ceramic braces treatment and my doctor called me in 20 days to adjust my braces .Can you tell me what should be the best time to go for adjustment of braces in 3 weeks or 4 weeks.He called me in 3 weeks only this time because of no dates available.

    1. Hello,
      The time between appointments can vary a lot depending on what is being done. The majority of appointments are between 4 to 6 weeks apart.

  126. I got my braces off about 2 months ago and I got clear, plastic retainers the same day I got them off. I have worn them every night except for maybe 3 nights cause i didn’t have them with me. So i have noticed that the crossbite I have puts pressure on my right front tooth on top and it have pushed the tooth up just a little bit but enough to see that my two top front teeth are not aligned. What will the step to correct that be? Is this uncommon?

    1. Hello,
      I would schedule an appointment with your orthodontist soon and show them the movement that is occurring. You may need interproximal enamel reduction and/or a new hawley retainer.

  127. I was told my 11 year old daughter needs braces for the following reasons. 1) constricted maxilla, linqually inclined l molars, retroclined lower incisors, class 111 skeletal pattern due to maxillary deficiency. I am a single mom with very limited dental insurance so cost is weighing on my mind. Are the above issues considered medically necessary so that I know if my insurance will cover it or should I plan on doing the payment plan? I only ask because I am OCD about my finances and like to plan things out to reduce my anxiety levels.

    1. Hello,
      It is difficult to get medical insurance to cover orthodontic procedures. You can ask your orthodontist to submit a claim to the insurance company, but I believe it will be denied. I advise that you talk to the office manager about their financial plans which would include a no interest in-office plan and maybe a third party credit card company like CareCredit.

      1. Are the reasons why the orthodontist gave considered as being medically necessary? I did call the insurance company and they said that when the claim is submitted if they find it to be medically necessary then the would pay their portion of the bill.

        1. Hi,

          There is no such thing as “medically necessary”. That is a misnomer thought by someone and the public has latched on to it. I’m not sure how it got started but it is misleading. I do think what I do is medically necessary but that has nothing to do with an insurance company paying for a procedure. When you or your employer pays for insurance coverage, it covers certain exact procedural codes from the onset. Every procedure has a code. If you have you appendix removed, it has a code. If you have your tonsils removed, it has a code. If you have fixed orthodontic appliances (braces), it has it’s own separate code. Either your insurance company covers orthodontic procedure codes or they do not. You can ask your insurance company directly from their 800 number or look in your handbook for procedures that are covered. If you have orthodontic insurance coverage then they will pay. Some medical insurances cover orthodontic procedures, some do not. So, the insurance company doesn’t care if your orthodontist thinks a procedure is “medically necessary”, your insurance will only pay for procedures that it covers.

  128. Hello!
    I just went in for my third tightening yesterday and my orthodontist said that my teeth have moved quite a lot considering the time I’ve had them (4 months). My friends, family, and myself included find my teeth moving quite quickly as well! I got 4 of my teeth extracted and for the past four months, I’ve had a power chain between these 4 gaps to close the gap. Yesterday, my orthodontist removed my power chains but I didn’t realize until I got home. My gaps are still quite big to remove the power chains. Is this something I should be concerned with? Why did she take off my power chains if the gap isn’t fully closed? Thank you in advance! (:

    1. Hi,
      There are a couple of ways to close the extraction spaces. Using power chains is one of them. If the orthodontist needs to retract the anterior teeth in mass, they will use the wire and not power chains. I would not worry about how the space is closed.

      1. Hello. (:
        I am back with a follow-up question. So, with the retraction, I have gotten spaces between teeth that haven’t had spaces between them before. Is this supposed to happen? Also, on the top right side of my mouth, I have a crown and the bracket has continuously fallen off so my orthodontist has completely removed the bracket until the teeth has come a bit closer together and I have noticed that the anterior teeth on the top left side has retracted one full tooth already while the top right side has a good amount of space left. Is the missing bracket slowing the retraction process? Thank you very much for your time and consideration for answering my question. I really appreciate it.

        1. Hi,
          It is normal for spaces to open up in some places during treatment. Sometimes this is due paralleling the roots during leveling or how your teeth are being moved by your orthodontist.

          Asymmetrical space closure is not a problem. The other side will eventually close as well.

  129. Hi my daughter is ten years old, she had twin block braces fitted on the 13th Aug 2014. She is doing really well however we have been back twice as the bottom one was rubbing her mouth. It’s only been two days and again it’s rubbing the other side of her mouth now, she has blisters and it looks like a little cut on the right side, and she says it’s too sore to wear it( she has been wearing it all the time apart from eating) its a weekend so the dentist won’t be open till Monday I don’t know what to do? Do I make her wear it knowing that it’s extremely painful or let her take it out until I can get in on Monday, plus is this normal to have to keep going back to the dentist this early on? This will be the third time due to it rubbing ? Please help

    1. Hi,
      I’d stop wearing the twin block until you see the orthodontist on Monday. It is not uncommon for this to occur. The sores are probably happening because your daughter’s mouth is changing a lot due to the eruption of new permanent teeth. Or there was some distortion in the impression that was taken to make the twin block which leads to an ill fitting appliance. It’s probably the latter. After some adjustments, it will be wearable.

  130. I got rubber bands on Wednesday and I have a class 3 on my right side so it goes from my top first molar to my bottom canine but the thing is I thought that was for when you have an underbite? And I have an overbite and a crossbite. So why do I have class 3 elastics?

    1. Hi,
      We use elastics for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to correct an underbite, overbite, crossbites and midlines. I would say you have a Class III cuspid on your right side that your orthodontist wants to change to Class I.

      1. What would the class I be used for? So what I have now with my overbite will worsen it? What is it going to do?

  131. Can orthodontic treatment cause changes in pharyngeal airway size & hyoid bone position? Can braces cause TMJ disorders? If yes, then can this be corrected without any surgery? Can extraction (in which teeth were extracted prior to surgery) orthodontic treatment be reversed? & that also without creating those gaps again & misaligning the teeth like before? & also, without the need of artificial teeth?
    I’m a 19 year old girl & recently, a dentist told me online that all my throat tightness, spasms, hyoid & thyroid cartilage rubbing etc are being caused by the extraction orthodontic treatment I’m having since a year! Also, I’ve been to many ENT doctors who told me there was actually nothing wrong inside my throat! I’m very scared!! What should I do?

    1. Hello,
      Can orthodontic treatment cause changes in pharyngeal airway size & hyoid bone position? No

      A dentist told me online that all my throat tightness, spasms, hyoid & thyroid cartilage rubbing etc are being caused by the extraction orthodontic treatment. The dentist is wrong. There is no connection between the extractions and your symptoms.

      Most orthodontic treatment helps diminish TMJ problems. TMJ dysfunction is usually caused by clenching and grinding the teeth.

  132. I had braces as a teen in high school but now I’m starting to notice that my bite has changed from what it was like when I had them removed. Could this be perhaps because my jaw/facial bones might have grown after the braces were removed? Should I bring this up to my dentist during my next checkup?

    1. Hello, It is true that facial growth, after braces are removed, can cause tooth movement. Discuss this with your family dentist first. If it is a concern, see an orthodontist. You may be able to stop movement or reverse it with retainers.

  133. Can I stop me orthodontic treatment in the middle? I’ve been having braces since one year. Actually, I’m going through other serious health issues, hence unable to complete my orthodontic treatment. Apart from the problems I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I also had to undergo a laprarotomy surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. Hence, I’ll not be able to go for regular visits to my orthodontist. Hence, I’m thinking about removing those braces & stop the orthodontic treatment now. I still have a gap in my upper right side of my teeth. But my other health issues are more serious. Will it be correct for me to stop the treatment now?
    & another question! Can badly done extraction orthodontic treatment be reversed without misaligning of teeth & without needing dentures & implants?

    1. Can I stop me orthodontic treatment in the middle? The adult patient or doctor can discontinue treatment at any time.
      Will it be correct for me to stop the treatment now? I cannot make that decision for you.
      Can badly done extraction orthodontic treatment be reversed without misaligning of teeth & without needing dentures & implants? The answer to this question relies in an examination and consultation with an orthodontist. It is possible to reverse some treatment or make the occlusion better.

  134. Hi, I’ve not worn my retainer for some months. Decided I better start using it again as I have a tongue thrust and could tell that my front teeth had started to shift forward again! After having the retainer in overnight the right side of my face is swollen and my teeth are extremely sore and feel loose! Should I discontinue use or “grit my teeth and endure” for the sake of keeping my teeth in line? I should also mention that I had maxillofacial surgery as a teenager and had the same type of swelling afterwards?? Please help!

    1. Hello,
      I’d continue wearing the retainer. You may need a visit with your orthodontist to see if the retainer needs adjusted.

      1. So, should I not be concerned about the swelling/puffiness in my cheek/upper lip above the gum line and surgery site?

  135. About three months ago, I started to wear retains to reduce the gap between my two upper front incisors. Last month, when I went to my dentist, I suspected that he might have tightened the retainers a bit too much… For the net three days, I couldn’t eat anything because of the pain and an increasingly swollen back gum(between the two teeth).. On the third night, the back gum just detached… And the pain was gone… The gap is gone now but the gum is still detached… What do I do?

    1. Hi,
      Since you are having gum problems, see your orthodontist and family dentist to evaluate the gum tissue.

  136. so i went in for an adjustment today. i finally got moved up from a nyti arch wire to a .19 gage square arch wire which was exciting and my ortho decided to move my elastics from the bottom back 6 to the bottom back 7 up to my canines.so the assistant put in the new wires attached new ligatures to the brackets and like always asked if there was any wire poking out in the back that needed to be cut and with new wires of course there was so she went to clip the first one on the top left and goes oh shoot afterward and has my ortho come back over and says she popped the bracket off while clipping the wire :/ my ortho said to just leave the bracket off until my next appointment in a month…he said he has to reposition all my back brackets at that appointment and not having it there until then won’t make a difference… but I’m worried that it will make a difference with the elastics being on or slow my treatment time or throw my bite off. my appointment was this morning and of course my teeth are already making movement with the new wire and i feel like the back seven on the top right that still has its bracket is still moving with the rest of the teeth and the back top left is now completely off :/ my back right its connecting with the bottom like its was before and the left is no longer connecting with the bottom at all. should i be worried? should i have requested that they replace the bracket?? I’m feeling like they didn’t replace it because it would have been and inconvenience having already put on all the ligatures and all πŸ™ or am i worried for nothing? I’m worried i should have them just put one back on until next month any insight is super appreciated i hate to sit and worry over things like this..

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Your orthodontist says it can wait, it can wait. Molars move very slowly and placing the bracket at the next appointment will be ok and your progress will not be delayed.

      1. thank you so much for putting my mind at ease.i have one of the top orthodontists in all of my area over 50-60 miles he’s absolutely great and i trust him! i just got worried because usually you see if a bracket pops off you should schedule to have it replaced asap so i started to wonder if it was really okay… could my bite being so thrown off be from starting new wires then?

        1. Starting new wires always moves the teeth and you bite may feel off. There are a lot of intermediate steps to get to your final occlusion. Again, you are in good hands, I would not worry about it.

  137. Hi Dr. Thompson, my name is Erika. So here is my story. I got my braces on last year in May and my orthodontist told me that my procedure would only take a year. I have been skeptical with him only because it would seem he did my procedure backwards i guess you could say? When i first got them put on he had my wire going up and down like a heartbeat and he gave me rubber bands to wear the same day i got the braces put on. Now its 4 months after i was suppose to have them off and at every visit he seems to switch off between regular ligatures and a power chain. One month I’ll have the power chain on and ill go in for my appointment and he takes it off and puts ligatures on and the next month im back on the power chain. I don’t understand why he keeps doing this? And its only for the top teeth. And another thing is my teeth on top seem to be pushed way out so when i laugh or smile it looks like a donkeys mouth. I thought the power chain was suppose to push them back? I don’t like this at all. I dont know if this is useful or not but i didnt get any teeth extracted when we decided what procedure to do when i first got them on. Also my front tooth looks as if its turning inwards and i use to have this problem when i was like 8 and only got braces on my top teeth because of my tooth that was turning inwards. I know theres a lot here and more than one question but i really hope you can help me. If you need pictures for a better visual i can email some to you? Again thank you for your time and help.

    1. Hi Erika,
      You need to start discussing these problems now with your orthodontist. If you think the incisors are too protrusive or forward, address the issue now. The treatment plan may need to be changed. For example, your 1st or 2nd upper premolars may need to be removed, spaces closed to correct your protrusion. Communication is the key at this point.

      1. hi Dr Thompson,

        This is my on-going treatment, my ortho extract my 1st upper and lower premolars due to protrusion. How long can this gaps close? Its been almost two months and no little difference yet (already got 2 adjustments, 3 weeks delayed). Now using elastic powerchain. All i worried, when can this gaps close?

  138. Hi, I Recently got my upper and lower bicuspids extracted. I have had braces on for about 3 months now. How long after my extraction sites healed will I being to see the gaps close?

    1. Hello,

      To start space closure, a certain size wire is needed and either elastic power chain is used or a closing loop wire. In your case, your orthodontist could start about a month of healing.

  139. Hi,

    Today I (finally!) got my full set of braces, top and bottom. On the lower right of my mouth there is a tooth missing underneath the baby one. Not exactly sure what my orthodontist/dentist is planning to do about it. They’ve tried to keep it for as long as possible but it’s begun to sink and it’s much lower down than any of my other teeth. I’m a little worried about the possible extraction in the near future. It’s very low down. Will the extraction be more difficult?


    1. Hi Anna,
      We can keep a baby tooth as long as it doesn’t start to “sink” down into the gum tissue. It appears that you have an ankylosed primary baby tooth that will need to be removed. An ankylosed tooth is more difficult to remove because the root is attached to the bone. Your orthodontist will ask your family dentist if they want to remove an ankylosed tooth. Your family dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon where they may use light sedation during the extraction.

  140. Can I get a hoop lip ring with braces? It’s going to be a while until they come off and because of other stuff I’m involved with now is the only time to do it.

    1. Hi,

      A hoop lip ring could bend the arch wire or damage the braces. After the braces are removed, please watch your gum tissue for any recession from the lip ring. It can occur in that area.

  141. Hi Dr. am I Yaared addisu from Ethiopia Addis ababa ;I was failed from building 25 years ago and my teeth lower and upper jaw joint for the past 25 years ago so I didnot eat soild food.as chance Doctore came from Germany last month do my teeth throuh suregery thanks to lord and open; but not as normal amount open.Dr went his countery so how can open as normal? please help. bye

    1. Hello,
      If I understand your situation. Use your fingers and stretch your jaws apart. Your muscles needs to be stretched. Do this often every day. Slowly the maximum opening of your mouth will increase.

  142. Hi Dr.Thompson,
    I am currently in high school and thinking of maybe being an orthodontist as my future profession. Although I have researched much about the dental industry, I much prefer an opinion/advise from one who is currently in the business. I would like to know, how did you know being an orthodontist was the right job for you besides the great pay of course. Is it an enjoyable job? I ask this because I don’t want to work only for the sake of working or paying bills, shelter, etc…) but to work because its what makes you happy.

    1. Hi,

      Most dentists and other professionals will experience burn out with their job. I think that occurs with most folks. The nice thing about this profession as with others, you can work as much as you want or as little as you want. I really enjoy my job and I like watching the small children I work on become self confident young adults. I believe a nice smile helps with their self esteem.

  143. Hi Dr. Thompson, I just have a few questions I’ve been wondering about.

    I’m 26 years old and going through a second round of braces. I got my first braces at around 9 years old and had them until I was 15. After my braces were removed I received both a removable upper retainer, and a permanent cemented retainer on my bottom teeth. It was a few years later, maybe my early twenties where I started experiencing symptoms of TMJ. My jaw started popping on my right side, there was a more or less persistent or constant ache on that side, and I was experiencing pretty severe headaches as well. 3 years ago I decided to consult with a new Orthodontist to see what was going on. I decided not to go with my original orthodontist because over the years I found him to be increasingly unwilling to even discuss the state of my jaw and teeth. Back when I first brought up the concerns about my TMJ, he believed that the only solution was jaw surgery, and that I should consider it. I was hesitant and a bit scared at the thought of surgery, so I never really considered it as a reality. More and more it seemed as though he was frustrated with me and was no longer interested in seeing me as a patient.

    As said, 3 years back in June of 2011, I sought a consultation with another Orthodontist and he believed there was a strong possibility that braces should work. He stated that he only promotes surgery when it is absolutely necessary, and advised me that if I could avoid it I should. With some serious thought, I decided to trust in him and get braces once again.

    I came to find out that over the years, my upper jaw had retracted and that since my upper and lower jaws weren’t able to produce a proper bite, my jaws and my muscles were compensating, trying to force a bite especially when sleeping, causing a lot of my tmj. My Orthodontist says it is an open bite that I had and still currently have. I know I’m probably mistaken in my words, but that is how I understood what he was saying. I also found that I should have been instructed to wear my upper retainer the rest of my life, but my previous orthodontist hadn’t instructed me to do so, actually saying there was no longer a need for me to wear it. Its been 3 years now and while I actually have a bite again, the open bite still remains, though quite small. While I have noticed a new popping and even a locking on my left side, the TMJ symptoms have improved. They are still present from time to time, but more or less I have experienced relief. My Orthodontist had me on elastics and various wires up until last month where he inserted two TAD’s in my lower jaw.

    This second go of braces has been quite a trying and frustrating experience, and I so want it to come to an end soon. Getting to my question, I’ve noticed recently that when I produce a natural relaxed smile, I’m seeing a little bit of my upper gums, and some of my bottom teeth. I’m sort of worried that the braces, and the recent addition of the TAD’s, may have changed my smile for the worse. Before I sought treatment and even with treatment up until this past month, my smile was normal and resembled yours in the picture on the website here. As said though, now, my bottom teeth are slightly visible. I’m not sure how much more work has to be completed but is it likely my orthodontist would ensure that my smile more or less returns to a conventional one? After braces and TAD’s are removed, would it be likely for my lips and mouth to sit in a more aesthetically pleasing way?

    I know without providing any actual orthodontic information it is difficult to ascertain what is going on in my case, but any information or thoughts you could provide would be great. I plan to sit down with my orthodontist in a month or so to see where things stand.

    Thanks you.


    1. Hi,

      Without an examination and records, I cannot give you any answers about your situation. I can only give general information. Based on the information you have given, you probably had a skeletal growth pattern that causes an anterior open bite. Some patients with anterior open bites do develop TMJ dysfunction. Probably your best treatment plan was to consider orthognathic surgery and a consultation with an oral surgeon would have been appropriate. As an orthodontist uses our wires, elastics and other devices like TADS, we can get some extrusion of teeth which can cause more gum tissue to show when a patient smiles. This extrusion may not be stable and relapse after appliances are removed. So it is likely that your smile may return to proper norms.

  144. Hi,

    I am 22 (turning 23 on January), and having brace for about 2 months. My ortho is asking me to do adjustment every 2 weeks all through out my treatment. Is it a little to harsh on my teeth without healing before another adjustment? All i know, adjustment is monthly. Please advise.

    1. Hi,

      Sometimes trying to move the teeth too quickly can slow the process down. However, it depends on what is being done. A normal time period between appointments for me is 4 weeks. Some orthodontists go longer, some shorter.

      1. thanks for this. my ortho extract my 1st upper (left and right) and lower (left and right) premolars due to protrusion. do you think every 2 weeks can make the gaps close faster in few months? or better make it every 3 weeks? i want some suggestions. thanks a lot πŸ™‚

        1. Hi,

          Having appointments too close together slows space closure down. Too much pressure all the time can cause the osteoclasts, that are against the root, to die causing sclerotic bone. The osteoclasts then have to form farther away from the root and eat through the sclerotic bone until they reach the root again. During that time, there is no tooth movement. So having appointments too close together can slow movement down. Orthodontists cannot speed up tooth movement. The rate of tooth movement has always been the same.

  145. Hello,

    My othodontist said i will need my braces for 18 months – 24 months mainly because i had a overbite and two of my bottom teeth at the front were twisted in. I’ve now had my braces for about 18 months and my overbite has now gone back nicely which im pleased about and but my problem is the fact that one of my twisted teeth at the bottom has gone back straight and one has stayed the same. Im due on the 3rd of October to have them taken off and i’m worried that he’s not going to do anything about it. I’d rather have my teeth straight and looking equal as i have to wear my retainer for the rest of my life and it’s quite visible.

    1. Hi Becky,

      You should not have your braces removed before you have a discussion about this turned tooth. You should call the office and get in to see your orthodontist for a consultation about that tooth before your braces off appointment.

  146. I got my braces on about a year and a half ago. My teeth arent together when my ortho told me i was supposed to get them off in a month or two. Are your teeth supposed to be pretty close together at that point or is it okay that they arent “perfect” yet?

    1. Hi,

      You need to discuss with your orthodontist any concerns you have with your occlusion before braces are removed.

  147. Hi Dr. Joseph Thompson,
    I took off my braces like 3 months ago. however, I feel like my 2 front teeth on the bottom jaw flared out a bit. I had to look at it carefully to recognize that. I dont know what i should do. I talked with my orthodontist and he said thats ok. Can you suggest me. my teeth still fit the removable retainer. but i think sometime the retainer can not be perfectly designed to fit the teeth at all. otherwise, i wonder why he didn’t attach the permanent wire in the back of my teeth. If i want to get braces back to shift the 2 teeth back. Do i have to pay for it ? I live in the us.
    Thank you

    1. Hello,
      You may need a different active retainer that will move your teeth like a spring retainer or a hawley retainer with fingersprings. Once you express your concerns and that you want these teeth corrected, your orthodontist should make the appropriate suggestions for treatment.

  148. Any suggestions on how to encourage a 16 year old boy to wear his elastics (and maybe one day a retainer)… He is not wearing the elastics. He says he does not care. He keeps saying “He never wanted them in the first place”. Neihter the Orthodontist nor his parents nagging is working. Help! Any guidance or suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Susan,
      It is very difficult to get a teenager to comply with elastics. You can use the following. 1) The braces will not be removed until the overjet reduces by wearing elastics as instructed. I have some patients that finally figure out that they may have their braces on for a long time until they comply. 2) The teenager has to be reminded that when he wears his elastics, he is helping himself and no one else. He is not fixing your teeth or his sister’s teeth or the orthodontist’s teeth. He’s helping himself. 3) Finally, the treatment plan can change. As a backup plan, your orthodontist may ask for two upper premolars to be removed. As the space is closed, the overjet will reduce. It sometimes is the second best treatment plan whereas elastics makes the lower jaw grow. He may not like the idea of having teeth removed.

      This is a very difficult situation and your son needs to understand that he owns it. His outcome may not be the best due to his actions. And you may want to remind him that someday his kids may return the favor and not wear their elastics. πŸ™‚ I wish you well.

  149. hello doc,

    i got braces on my top row of teeth yesterday ( 23 september ) and i am getting pain rushes in my teeth. some are soft that i barely notice it, and some are so bad im on the edge of crying. how much longer will this go on for?
    Also, i have high canine teeth and they ache the most. i looked in the mirror earlier and it looks as if my gum is falling over my tooth. beacuse my gum is touching the top of my bracket. is this normal?

    1. Hi,

      Your teeth will be sore for 3 to 7 days. Use soft foods and place wax on areas that rub your lips. Over time it will get better. Your cuspid’s crowns are not completely exposed and they placed the bracket in the proper position, close to the gum tissue. That is normal.

  150. Hello, I am getting my braces taken off. However, my dentist says that i have multiple cavities under my brackets. I am very scared. Will it hurt getting the braces off because of the cavities??? Will it break my tooth?

    1. Hi,

      It shouldn’t hurt getting your braces removed. However, as the adhesive is removed, the teeth with cavities may hurt from the air/water sprayed on them. Agree with your orthodontist before removing the adhesive on a signal, like raising your hand, when it hurts and they will stop.

      Your teeth should not break as your braces are removed. Most cavities are very small decalcification spots and have not weakened the tooth to allow fracture. Chances are, your braces will be removed with the least amount of discomfort.

  151. I recently got a power chain on the two front teeth and the teeth on both sides of them (4 teeth total). I practiced flossing my teeth before I left and got the floss caught on the end of the chain.I felt like It made the chain be on only half the brace. The hygienist said she meant to put it on only half the brace though. I am suppose to get my braces off in three weeks and my teeth are perfect. My concern is with the power chain being on half the brace, will it make my tooth come over the tooth beside it that is also connected to the power chain?

    1. Hi,
      The hygienist is correct. A power chain should only be on half of the bracket on the terminal ends. The only time a power chain should be around the whole bracket is when the orthodontist wants that tooth to rotate.

  152. I got my braces off 10 years ago, and wore my retainer as I was supposed to for the time frame (I forget now exactly what it was). Over the years, my teeth have shifted…the tooth next to my front tooth on one side has shifted behind the front tooth a bit, and the front teeth have started to space apart again. It’s not a huge deal, but obviously, I notice it. I went to a new ortho a couple of years ago and he gave me a Hawley, but I lost it in a move and have just found it. I have not worn it in over a year, and it was tight when I got it because it was made to pressure my teeth back into place. My question is, is this retainer still safe to wear (I often said I felt I was pulling my teeth out when I took it out in the morning, so I worry it’ll be worse now) or should I visit a new ortho since I no longer live in the area and get a new retainer? Is Hawley the only retainer that will correct this shifting, and how long should it take?

    1. Hi,

      You need to take your old retainer with you and see an orthodontist. A hawley retainer is probably the best option to close a small space. Time to close the space depends on how large it is. Once the space is closed, a bonded retainer could be placed behind the teeth that are moving and stabilize them.

  153. Hello Doctor!

    I have a problem. I took my nance and lip bumper out around a year and a half ago. I was supposed to get my braces afterwards but my mom couldn’t pay the down payment. Next month we plan to pay the payment. Im about to turn 15 and I was wondering if I can still get braces, even though my nance and lip bumper have been off for so long.

    1. Hi Anne,

      The lip bumper is used to modify jaw growth and the Nance arch can be used for cross bites or for anchorage. I’d say you can still get braces. The treatment plan may change a little bit if the early treatment didn’t achieve it’s goals.

  154. Hi, I’ve had my fixed lower retainer for 25months now, I no longer wear my upper retainer slowly stopped wearing it 18months ago under direction from my orthodontist. My lower retainer has come unbounded from one tooth and is starting to come off another. My orthodontist has retired so I called the clinic where he use to work from and booked to get it looked at by someone else however have been told it will cost me to get it repaired as I am not one of the orthodontists patients. They also said if it needs replacing it will cost double the repair cost. What I am asking is having had it on for two years long enough to just have it removed permanently?
    Thanks Hannah

    1. Hi,
      Good question. This is the problem with fixed retainers. A fixed retainer is like having braces on the backside of your teeth. The patient has never allowed natural forces to take over. So when you remove the bonded fixed retainer, you could get tooth movement. I’d say if you have your fixed retainer removed, obtain a clear aligner/retainer and monitor your teeth as you wean yourself off of the clear aligner. Ideally, an orthodontist should monitor you for a while. On the other hand, you could get your fixed lingual retainer fixed and not worry about it for a while. I have seen fixed lingual retainers last for years.

  155. Hi, I had a crossbite and some minor crowding of my bottom front teeth. One orthodontist said that my bottom teeth were kind of narrow in the arch and by bringing it out a bit would make it look nicer. Previously I had had one set of premolars taken out as a teen.

    I have been i braces for 18 months now. My orthodontist has been wanting to remove them since about 3 months ago but either one tooth was lower than another or my molars were not coming together…. things that I had to point out and ask him about. Now, he has set an appointment to have them off next week. The left side of my jaw aches because it does not come together like the right side. I just noticed that the right side of my bite is angles upwards and the left side of my bite is straight…. so, the right side touches and not the left unless I clamp my jaw down and move it backward and inward. I’m very upset after noting this, my jaw aches, and my confidence in him is gone. I don’t know what to do. I will add that i’ve been in various rubber bands since 8 months into treatment.

    thank you,

    1. Hi,

      You need to discuss these items that you see about your occlusion with the orthodontist. In some adult cases, ideal cannot be achieved. You can always get a second opinion.

  156. Hello, I happen to go by your website when I was searching, “What it takes to become an orthodontist.” I was wondering, if, in your opinion, you believe that those 11 years after graduating high school to become an orthodontist is really worth it. I would like to be an orthodontist, but I am a little hesitant because I don’t want to study for so many years and be successful. Could you tell me, as an orthodontist, if the road to becoming what you are was really worth it? How hard is it to become an orthodontist on a scale 1 -10? (1 being easy and 10 being hard.) After becoming an orthodontist, are you guaranteed a job? Is the ratio for female to male orthodontist equivalent? Thank you

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Do you believe that those 11 years after graduating high school to become an orthodontist is really worth it. Yes. In any professional job a certain degree of education and competence is required to protect the public. Some professions require more than others.

      How hard is it to become an orthodontist on a scale 1 – 10? 10

      After becoming an orthodontist, are you guaranteed a job? Yes, never unemployed.

      Is the ratio for female to male orthodontist equivalent? Yes, 50/50

  157. Hello! I have a question, I have what’s called, “springs” and they are huge… Does anyone know, how I can tell when I’m getting them off? and how long will it take with the “rubber bands” process?

    1. Hi Jane,
      To correct a Class II malocclusion with a moderate overjet can take one to two years.

  158. I just got a new retainer from my Orthodontist for the sole reason of closing the small gap that was forming in between my 2 front teeth. It’s been about a year since I’ve worn a retainer bc I lost it after my braces came off.
    The gap is closing, but now a new gap is forming in between my right front tooth the the one directly next to it.
    There was never a gap there before, and if there was, It was never as noticeable as it is now after using this retainer.
    Is it normal to reform gaps and then close them? Do I need to give it time?

    I just spent $395 on this new retainer to help fix my front teeth, and now it’s creating a whole new issue.

    The retainer looks just like a standard one. The only difference is it has two little metal parts that only go on either side of the two front teeth to help push them together.

    1. Kaitlin, it appears that you are using a hawley retainer with fingersprings. It is normal for a space to develop between your lateral incisor and your central incisor. Once the central incisors are together and maybe they are bonded together with a lingual fixed retainer, the gum tissue may pull the lateral incisors next to your central incisors and close the gaps. Give it time and ask your orthodontist about it. They have a plan.

    1. Hi, your orthodontist will talk with you about what you don’t like about your smile. They will examine your malocclusion and then make recommendations of what needs to be done to correct it.

  159. Hi,

    I would like to know… What will happen if you don’t use the light to bond the bracket in place? Will it stay on for a week or so then break off?

    1. Hello,
      There are two types of bonding adhesive used in bonding brackets on to enamel. Light cured resin and two part mixed resin. The light cured resin is an adhesive that will not get hard until the curing light is used on it. The other resin has two parts that are mixed together which starts the hardening process. Most orthodontists use the light cured resin.

  160. Hi, I’ve been consulting two dentists about braces and one says I need to extract four teeth (2 from above,2 from below) and the other says I only need to extract 2 from above. Why is that? Also, why are teeth extracted after putting the braces and not before? Usually, what teeth are extracted? Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi,

      Extractions for the purpose of orthodontic treatment are usually either the first or second premolars. They can be removed before braces are placed or after. Lower extractions are usually made for a lower arch that is crowded. Same for the upper, except sometimes the space is used to reduce an overjet.

  161. i feel like a few days after every adjustment i have some kind of issue…sigh. so i went in last friday for an adjustment..along with a bit smaller of wires until my next visit at the beginning of november i had my lower 4 bracket removed and a new one reset in a new position.today i was flossing and the ligature on that tooth came off! i went to see if i could place it back on myself and saw that the wire was no longer through the track on the bracket and there is no way for me to get it back in.of course it was after-hours and too late to call my ortho.im curious if i should just leave it or if i should call them tomorrow and get in for an ’emergency’ appointment to get it fixed? i don’t want to leave it if its going to slow things I’m supposed to be getting an activation next appointment..

  162. The eye tooth on the right side is moving under my front tooth next to it and causing that tooth to stick out farther than the other front tooth. It is causing me to sometimes bite my bottom lip when chewing. Can anything be done for this?

    1. Hi, Either braces, an active clear aligner or a hawley retainer can be used to move the teeth. Consult with your local orthodontist.

  163. I’ve had braces on almost 7 years now as an adult patient (early 40s). I originally wanted a dental implant as I had lost a baby baby tooth where my canine should be. Upon X-ray the dentist found that I did have a permanent canine crosswise on the roof of my mouth and gave the opinion that an implant should not be the first option, but that dental braces could pull that tooth down while closing in the gap in my front teeth, he cautioned it could take 10 months to bring the tooth down. The tooth is still not down, and I was told a couple of months ago that I’m going to lose my lateral incisor next to where he has been trying to pull the tooth down, so it looks like I am going to have to get an implant either way. It feels like there is no end in sight to this. since now he has sawed away bone to get under my gum to get the tooth (2 years and the tooth is still not showing), and connected my other teeth to add force, they are all bowed out, my gap is larger than ever and now I’m worried what kind of mess my teeth are going to be in when the braces come off – I could be looking at 10 years at this pace!!!! (my teeth were not that bad). I’ve had the spacer across the roof of my mouth for over 3 years now. My tongue is lscarred from it cutting. I just wonder is this NORMAL? I have no frame of reference to go by. Should I cut my losses and go to another dentist? He gets irritated at me asking questions.

    1. Hi Gail,
      He should not get irritated at you asking questions. I would advise that you get a second opinion from an orthodontic specialist.

  164. Hello, I’m am 24 years old. I’ve a problem of 2 class malocclusion with narrow palate and deep byte. How could I solve my problem at my age?

    1. Hi,
      I cannot create a treatment plan without an examination and records. I will say that you may have to have orthognathic surgery or tooth extractions, with braces. Depending on the measurements taken from the records, your orthodontist will know what jaw is creating the overjet. Is the lower jaw deficient or the upper jaw protrusive or a combination of both. In some cases, extractions or surgery are not needed.

  165. Hi!
    I’m worried that my braces are affecting my front left tooth. I cracked it in half when I was little, and have had a fake half for years. The root is still healthy and living, but I’m worried that the braces are going to break off the fake half. I discovered this a few nights ago while brushing my teeth, and seeing it wiggle. My orthodontist told me I would probably have to get a new fake half after I get my braces off, but what if it breaks off before that?

    1. Hi Emma, If it breaks off, the wire and bracket are removed. It is repaired and then your orthodontist places the bracket and wire back on. No problem.

  166. Hi! So my retainer broke and I have been wearing it at night to keep my teeth from shifting, because my new trays of Invisalign will becoming in. My orthodontist is closed until Monday and I’m freaking out that my teeth are going to shift!!!!

    1. Hi, wear your broken retainer during the day so you don’t swallow the parts while sleeping, if possible. That should keep your teeth from moving.

  167. Hi, today I went to see my orthodontist to fix my permanent retainer, and she noticed some residual glue left from my braces 4 years ago. she instructed the hygienist to remove the glue, who used a pliers like tool instead of a buffer. While she was using it my tooth began to get sensitive on her third scrap. She then used the buffer to remove the glue when she was done I noticed two hairline fractures on my tooth that was not there before. I told my orthodontist and she said they were always there. Is that possible? I think I would have noticed hairline cracks on my tooth, and it is a bit sensitive now, and it was not before.

    1. Hello, every person has craze lines which are cracks in the enamel due to normal chewing and using our teeth over time. These cracks usually have no consequences and are never noticed until a bright light is shown on the tooth. They can be vertical or horizontal. Chances are, these craze lines you have noticed were not created by having the adhesive removed and you just became aware of them. If your sensitivity doesn’t subside after a week, seek a consultation with your family dentist.

  168. I’ve had my TPA with acrylic for over 6 months now and it hadn’t caused me to much pain but recently the roof of my mouth has become swollen and very painful. Is there anything I can do to relieve the pain? Is this normal? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Food and bacteria can gather underneath your Nance arch (transpalatal arch with acrylic) and cause the palate to become inflamed. You need to floss underneath the acrylic button if possible by using superfloss. Superfloss has a stiff part that will allow you to thread the floss under the wire. Then grab a hold of the floss and move it underneath the acrylic. Use the thicker part of the superfloss to dislodge any food or bacteria under the acrylic. Rinse well after flossing. I’d also recommend salt water rinses. If the inflammation does not go away, have your orthodontist look at it. They may bend the wire so that the acrylic moves away from the palate and you can clean it better.

  169. hello, my 11 year old daughter has an expander in her mouth. it has not adhered to one of her molars on two occasions. and last week it completed fell off and broke.
    the doctor is indicating that it is excessive breakage. I had called and told the office three weeks ago that it was the glue was off the molar and it was moving up and down.
    The doctor wants me to pay $400 for another expander? My daughter and I are very careful at what she eats and puts in her mouth. This is my 4th child under ortho care I have never been blames like this before. Not sure what to do?
    any advice its helpful. She did have a fluoride cleaning and treatment from her dentist before she started ortho care could that have interfered with the adhesive glue?

    1. Hello, There is a variety of reasons a RPE can come loose. Some are not due to patient compliance. A couple of examples would be distortion in the impression, ill placement of the bands in the impression or angulation of the patient’s molars. These items can make an RPE not fit properly or become easily dislodged. Usually, when I have an RPE come loose, I recement the RPE with a stronger adhesive. If it still comes out, I remake the RPE. Every orthodontist is different. Some will charge to remake it. Flouride or a cleaning does not affect the bond strength of the cemented RPE.

  170. I am 28 currently wearing braces had an exposure of my canines on the roof of my mouth. The gold chain is ever bothersome my gums keep growing over it. The first time it happened the assistant had to get the orthodontist and he pulled it away from the gum. He even commented something like “thats strange”. Two days ago they moved the right string from being tied to a molar to being ties forward. This one now too is painful and I can feel the gums growing over it. When I google this nothing comes up. Why is this happening? Also my gums are puffy and swollenright around the chains

    1. Hi, it normal to move the chain and pull in various directions. The gum tissue can try to heal around the chains during protraction. The best thing to do is keep the area clean from plaque and food. That will keep your gum tissue from being swollen and hurting.

  171. im 14 years old and my top wire came out a second time and what are they going to do if I go back there?
    Are they going to pull out teeth?
    Please answer

    1. Hi Anna,

      They will repair the wire and make it more secure. As you chew food, it can flex the wire and the wire can come out of the molar tube. There would be no need in removing a tooth because a wire came loose. Call your orthodontist for a repair visit.

  172. Hello,

    I had braces put in about 3 months ago, that was very painful and uncomfortable. About 3 weeks after I had my braces put in I had to go back and to my displeasure I had a palatal expander put in. That is complete torture!! Truth be told since I had braces and the expander put in I cannot chew. I have read numerous websites where people claim its the first 2 weeks that are the worse…and her I am almost 3 months later and I still can’t chew.

    Anyways, my latest problem with this is I just noticed the top, right brackets are moving into my top gums. I have a redline on my gums and they look a bit irritated. I have scheduled an orthodontist appointment. My question is, is this normal? If so, why ever would my orthodontist choose to put the bracket so close to my gums, if he knew it was going to move?

    1. Hi,

      Posterior brackets are usually closer to the gum tissue. That is normal. Because they are closer they become a plaque trap. You will have to keep that area free of plaque to lessen gingivitis.

      1. Thank you for your reply!

        One last honest question: why is my orthodontist so rough? Is that a necessary trait?

        1. I think some orthodontists are heavy handed because they have to manipulate the wire into the slot of the bracket. Some orthodontists have a lighter touch, some don’t. We get focused on getting the job done. The phrase, “no pain, no gain” is true in orthodontics.

  173. I just got home from the Ortho with my son. He has had braces for 2 1/2 years and they did xrays today and said that 2 of his roots are not straight and that it would take 4-6 months to fix them. My son has not did a great job on brushing and has white spots on his teeth and I am concerned that if we continue he is going to have more damage to his teeth. My question is, will it cause problems if we take the braces off and leave the roots crooked? I just don’t want more damage to his teeth. I appreciate your help.

    1. Hi,
      A good reason for removing braces is decalcification that is not under control. It would be nice to get the roots parallel but it may not be the best choice. You need to discuss with the orthodontist about taking the braces off and get the pros and cons of doing so.

  174. Hi. Good day! I got my braces 5 months ago, and i’m wondering why my orthodontist haven’t put band. And i didn’t get any x-ray before she applied. And we also found out that I have missing tooth.

    1. Hi,
      Every orthodontist does treatment differently and the sequence can be varied. Radiographs are usually a normal part of the records. And, 10% of the population will have a congenitally missing tooth or teeth. I would not worry.

  175. Dear, Dr. Joseph Thompson

    No i’m not your typical dentist type person that has many questions on the many curiosities that we call “our teeth”, but i do have one pressing question i do need to ask for you. You see I have developed these red scabs around my teeth on my gums, but their only on one side of my gums, and are extremely sensitive to touch and chewing motions, although you may ask, yes i am a smoker of 2 years and this is gum issue has had me in a worry. though i fear it maybe something worse i see it as just maybe canker sore but their spread out on only one side of my gums. please if theirs is any way you can help just let me know. please

  176. Hi Dr. Thompson,
    Thank you for your time and providing so much valuable information.
    My son has had twin blocks for about 3 months. Within about a month he began complaining about difficulty eating due to a feeling his jaw alignment has shifted sideways. Is there a possibility the twin blocks have caused his midline to shift? The twin blocks are for an overbite and slightly recessed lower jaw. I have brought the issue up with the orthodontist however not much attention has been given to the issue.
    thank you

    1. Hi, a twin block appliance can be made to correct an asymmetric growth of the lower jaw by making the patient slide farther on one side than the other. So a twin block can affect growth asymmetrically. Also, your son may be growing asymmetrically and the twin block is not made to address that growth. You will need to press your orthodontist for more information into what they see during examination.

  177. Hello,
    I recently got an appliance (RPE) and was instructed to turn it once a day for a week. The first 2 days i turned the appliance correctly but for 3 day my friend turned it the wrong way. I was wondering if i were to turn the appliance twice a day until i catch up to the correct amount of turns would it be the same as if i did it correctly from the start?

    1. Hi, you can make up the turns that were made incorrectly, IMHO. Please phone and get approval from your orthodontist.

  178. Hello,
    I am a teenager with braces, but for a very long time my teeth were crooked. Now my teeth aren’t even, some teeth are longer than others due to the uneven wear. Will the orthodontist do anything to fix this? Some teeth are noticeably uneven.

    1. Hi, yes an orthodontist will move the edges of the teeth to where they are more normal. We extrude in intrude teeth into the bone to level the occlusal plane.

  179. I recently got braces (in August) and I went to get them tightened a few weeks ago for the first time. They didn’t put the thicker wire in so I still have the one they put in when I first got them on. I realized yesterday that the little ridge that’s supposed to be in the center between my front teeth has shifted. Should I go see my orthodontist?

    1. Hi, no you don’t need to see your orthodontist. That little ridge keeps the wire from sliding side to side and getting too long in the molar area.

  180. My palate expander was replaced yesterday and I just noticed today, that it is placed crooked. Lovely. Therfore, one of the front edges is stabbing me in the tongue.

    My question is, will the palate expander being crooked in my mouth affect anything?

    1. Hi Dawn, no, an expander that is crooked will not be a problem. The palatal suture will open the same.

  181. Hi. I’m 58 and I just got my braces on four days ago, lingual on the top and ceramic on the bottom. My problem is when I bite my bottom teeth hit my top linguals preventing all of my molars from touching therefore I’m not able to chew anything up. Is this normal and how long should I expect it to last?

    1. Hi, it is normal. It can last months if the occlusal plane is off a lot. Just chew slowly and you will get use to it.

  182. Hi, my orthodontist has had me wear rubber bands for a few months now and my teeth have straightened out nicely. Except for a small gap that I have between my left central incisor and left lateral incisor. My orthodontist gave me heavier rubber bands to wear but I can’t recall what side to wear the heavier rubber bands on. My next appointment is in a few days and I’m hoping to close the gap so I can get my braces off the next time I see him. Any advice? Thanks

    1. Hello, if you are confused about how to wear the rubber bands, call your orthodontists office and ask. They will look into your chart and advise you accordingly.

  183. hi I got my braces off last week and only received my retainer today, my teeth have moved slightly and the retainer does not stay on my back teeth on one side of my mouth properly, will the teeth move back into place for the retainer to fit, my orthodontist said they may move back into position within a couple of days but she also made me wait a week for my retainers where as other people I know got theirs 2 hours after removal of the braces, so I don’t have much trust in her…

  184. Dear Dr.Joseph Thompson,
    A few days ago my daughters bracket fell off. On Monday we went to the dentist to get it off. My question is her wire is not on the band, is it not supposed to be on the band or does it have to be on the band.

    1. Hi. Usually the wire goes through the slot of the molar band. If the wire is not bothering her, you could wait for your regular appointment to get the bracket replaced.

  185. Dear Dr. Thompson,

    To start of, Like the normal teenager I have braces. Of course being my unique self I also have the RPE and herbst device. I have two questions. First, my orthadontist told me after so many times your caps for your herbst device get loose, they go to plan B. ( removing teeth ). They never specified how many times that is, but I’m making an appointment for my second loose cap. I’m worried over these six months that they will just give up and pull teeth out , which is not something I’m interested in.
    My second question is, on the bottom right cap, I got something that seemed like an infection, but I didn’t worry ’bout it. It new naturally went away. Now a month or so later I got another one, but on the bottom left side. It’s swollen a little and I’m about to have an orthadontic appointment. I’m a little worried because I’ve hearted that you can get some sort of laser surgery to remove it or after awhile you get a gum disease. So all I’m wondering is, how to get the swelling to go down extremely fast with my cap right there.

    any advice,

    1. Hi. You can always talk with your orthodontist and state that you do not want to have teeth removed. You can discuss options and the compromise with this decision. As far as breakage, a lot of pressure is created on the caps of a herbst appliance. They may be able to use stronger adhesive or remake the Herbst appliance if it is not fitting well.

      1. Thank you for your response, and I’m actually going tomorrow for my appointment. If my orthodontist brings extractions up in the conversation , I’ll definitely tell him how I feel! Let’s hope they fix the herbst device for good this time, because the first time it was slightly painful, and I’d rather not do it again till my 6-9 months are up. Thank you for the response!

  186. My 8 1/2 year old saw his dentist for his regular check up and cleaning yesterday. He had developed a posterior crossbite and the doc wants to place an expander because of his small top jaw. We have already been informed he would need braces. I feel hesitant right now. Should we seek a second opinion or prepare to proceed. Your advise please ! Thank you.

    1. Hi. It is normal to correct a posterior crossbite early with a rapid palatal expander. By doing so, you lessen the chances of the crossbite causing an asymmetrical growth of the mandible to the side of the crossbite. Also, expansion will create more room for maxillary teeth to erupt.

    2. If your son has to get the expander, don’t stress about it too much! I have it right now with a few other things and I personally love it! The only bad part is picking out the food because you see disturbing food particles…But over all, it will be a fun experience and hardly painful if your son stays optimistic and tells you when it’s loose. One more thing, when he gets it, don’t be nervous about twisting it! It’s not that painful getting it removed, but it’s not some,hint that I’d consider pleasant.

      Over all, you’ll have fun with it…and get the new London Look!

  187. Hey,
    I’m getting my braces off in around 4 months (well that’s what my Ortho told me anyway) and I was wondering what should I do after I get them off, how long should I wait until using whitening strips and are there any strip brands that you would recommend?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. Hello,

      Any brand of whitening system can be used after braces are removed. I personally like the Crest White Strips.

  188. Hello my name is Oscar, and I just recently got my braces removed around 2 months ago. I have always had short teeth causing two gaps by my canines. the dentist recommended I get my teeth bonding, and said if I did I would need to get new invisalign retainers. He didn’t mention the normal wire retainers so that is my question. Would I need to get new wire retainers if I get my teeth bonded? Since it mostly just goes around your teeth, but it doesn’t actually shape around each one.

    1. Hi, it depends on whether the bonding is in the way of the hawley wire retainer. Your orthodontist would seat your retainer and evaluate the fit of the plastic/wire to the bonding.

  189. Hi,
    I’m getting my braces off tomorrow and wondering which retainer to ask for? Which one is better?

  190. i have a question about elastics. Before when i used to wear my elastics, i could feel pressure and they felt tight. But now my elastics feel loose and feel like they’re not working. is this normal?

    1. Hello. Your elastics should feel tight. Some patients get use to them and they don’t hurt as much but that is their perception. Make sure you use new elastics everyday. Reusing the same elastics wears them out and there would be less pressure.

  191. Hello! Is it better to have expanders before the wisdom tooth pulled out? I have a narrow palate and my lower jaw are not aligned perfectly so that my dentist recommend me to have an expanders. I am 19 years old! Do you think i need surgery because i have a narrow palate?

    1. Hello. At your age you will need a Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expander (SARPE) procedure. Your mid-palatal suture is closed and surgery is required to get true bone movement.

  192. Does Damon Braces help to expand the palate or I need to have removable expander? Is it ok to have braces and expander at the same time? Sorry if I have many questions πŸ™‚

      1. What can DAMON Braces do? Damon Braces cannot expand the palate of a person? According to their site, no need to have expander because Damon Braces will do more faster than other traditional braces.

        1. “According to their site, no need to have expander because Damon Braces will do more faster than other traditional braces.”

          Unsubstantiated by clinical studies.

  193. I just got my braces installed and they put oil springs on one side. Do they suppose to come out of the bracket? I can put it back on but I don’t know what they are supposed to hang onto.

    1. Hi, If the open coil spring is in the back of the mouth, the wire goes into the molar slot. If it is something else, you’ll need to call your orthodontist.

  194. hi. i just got braces today. i brushed my teeth before bed and then noticed after brushing my teeth 2 black dots on my brackets. do you think just some of the silver wore off?

  195. Hi my name is Brennan. I am in high school but already starting to think about what I want to be when I grow up. I have figured that an Orthodontist is a good path for me because I love Biology and Math. Also, I feel like I am prepared to be one because I have a 4.0, in all honors classes, and in a Early College program. Overall, I just had a couple of questions about the path of an Orthodontist:

    1) Does a DMD have less surgery classes and more chemistry and Biology about the science of Dentistry
    2) What was Dental and Orthodontist school like?
    3) Is there a faster way to just become an Orthodontist?
    4) What do you think is the average income of an Orthodontist?
    5) Do you really love your job, or do you think it can get a little boring sometimes?
    6) Did you become a Dentist first to pay off student loans, and then become an Orthodontist later? Or did you just go straight through the path of an Orthodontist?

    1. Hi,

      1) Does a DMD have less surgery classes and more chemistry and Biology about the science of Dentistry? You will perform gum surgery and oral surgery techniques. Biology and chemistry courses are in the beginning years.
      2) What was Dental and Orthodontist school like? Full time from 8am to 5pm. After school you have to do your lab work, then home to study.
      3) Is there a faster way to just become an Orthodontist? No, usually 2 to 3 years after dental school.
      4) What do you think is the average income of an Orthodontist? In the top 1% of earners in the USA. Ranked 6th out of the 300 highest paying jobs in America.
      5) Do you really love your job, or do you think it can get a little boring sometimes? I love my job. The patients keep it exciting.
      6) Did you become a Dentist first to pay off student loans, and then become an Orthodontist later? Or did you just go straight through the path of an Orthodontist? You become a dentist first, then apply to an orthodontic graduate program. It is very, very difficult to be accepted into an orthodontic graduate program.

      Make sure you read my article on “How to Become an Orthodontist”

  196. Hello,
    my daughter’s orthodontist believes she has an ankylos tooth and wants to luxate it. My dentist thinks this is a bad idea. Can you tell me the pros and cons of this procedure? What are our options for her if this doesn’t work or we decide not to do it?

    1. Hi,
      In my opinion, luxating an ankylosed tooth has little chance of being successful. After the procedure, the ankylosis occurs again.

  197. Hi,

    My 7 year old daughter has just been seen by an orthodontist who advised she has an ankylosed tooth on her lower right side. The adult tooth is stuck under the baby tooth and the surrounding teeth have now closed in on each side around the baby tooth, exactly as shows in your picture pretty much! She has advised that the baby tooth needs to be removed. She will need to be put under general anaesthetic and I am obviously concerned. Can you please advise if this procedure is really necessary?

    Many thanks


    1. Hello,
      The primary tooth needs to be removed. If it is not removed, it will become decayed and a source of infection. Also, it will distort bone growth of the lower jaw.

  198. I am 15 years old and is going to wear a reverse headgear. I read that once a female is 16, her jaw stops growing. Is it too late to use a reverse headgear to correct my underbite?

  199. Hi,

    I’m 60 years old and I’ve just had my braces removed 3 weeks ago which was on for 20 months. The bottom set was crowded but now are straight but I can see the bottom 2 at the front feel loose and I can see them moving slightly! I wear retainers every night but not during the day as they told me to wear them for just a week during the day. Is this something I need to worry about or will they settle down?

    Many thanks Jayne

    1. Hi, the mobility of your teeth should diminish. You may want to wear your retainers more often until the mobility has lessened.

  200. Approximately two month ago I completed Invisalign treatment. I asked my Orthadontist if I would be receiving the vivera retainers afterwards, but he replied with no, that his office would be making the retainers. I used his retainers for almost exactly two months before one of them decided to practically split in half. Ironically, the same day the retainer cracked I had an appointment with that orthodontist. He advised I could return to the last Invisalign tray while I waited for a new one to be made. So I did that, but I woke up this morning with my mouth as sore as it was like when I initially began treatment. So obviously the retainers that were made allowed my teeth to move or shift from where Invisalign left off. Is this normal? Or should I be determined to get the vivera retainers instead?

    1. Hi, your teeth have settled from natural forces which is what we want during retention. I would not worry that your teeth are sore. I’d go with the recommendation of your orthodontist.

  201. Hi,
    I had to extract upper 2nd premolars and lower 1st premolars due to poor prognosis. need to correct class 2 div 1 malocclusion. what are the complications of such treatment

    1. Hello,
      The positions of the extraction sites will make treatment time longer than normal to obtain a Class I molar relationship. Controlling the space closure and setting up the anchorage unit is very important. TADs and a nance appliance or transpalatal bar may be needed to help with space closure.

  202. My son is 15 years old and today just got braces on his teeth due to an overbite. He also has tongue thrust which they say caused the overbite. The problem is that he cannot swallow at all due to the Transpalatal Bar. He cannot swallow his own saliva or food. The bar prevents his tongue from reaching the top of his mouth and he has no idea on how to get things down his throat without putting his tongue to the roof of his mouth. There is a large gap between the bar and the roof of his mouth. How can I help him and ensure he does not choke when trying to eat, drinking, or when sleeping? I tried calling his orthodontist but their office is closed and I do not know who else to try to contact.

    1. Hello,
      Most patients adapt to the transpalatal bar. It is true that the wire should be away from the palate and it does make it harder to swallow. I’d suggest that you use soft foods at first until he gets use to it. If, after a week, he is still having problems with eating, then see your orthodontist. They may need to adjust or remake the transpalatal bar.

  203. Thank you so much for the fast reply. My son says thank you, too. We will try the soft foods and help him adjust to the bar. If he continues to have difficulty I will call his orthodontist. I am so glad I found this site, you were extremely helpful and really set our minds at ease. Have a wonderful afternoon!

  204. I had braces for about 2 years. I have a essix retainer that I use for my top teeth. Recently I’ve noticed that the retainer isn’t covering the entire tooth and there is a gap from where my actual teeth are supposed to sit in the retainer, but aren’t going all the way in. The retainer doesn’t feel tight like my teeth have shifted though. Do you know what this could be caused by?


    1. Hi,
      As a patient goes through retention, the positions of the teeth can change especially in a vertical dimension. In your situation, your teeth have moved up and there is a gap between the plastic and the incisal edge of your tooth. This is either from a tongue thrust, relapse, size of the teeth, shape of the teeth, size of bone, rapid growth in height of the patient or not wearing the retainer as instructed. You may just need a new retainer. Tell your orthodontist your concerns at your next visit.

  205. Hello,
    So today I had my last appointment before I get my braces off (hopefully, I’ve been suppose to get them off twice now but it didn’t end up happening) and I think I made the nurse angry because she was rushing with my teeth. She asked if I wanted new a different color for my ties and I said the old was find and she didn’t put any on? Are ties important? Because the wire on my bottom keeps popping off when I eat.

    1. Hi, Yes the ties are very important and it sounds like the orthodontic assistant forgot to put them on. The ties hold the wire in place. Call the orthodontic office and be seen soon to get the ties placed back.

  206. Hi dr. Thompson,
    My daughter is 10. Her upper side of the mouth is growing faster towards the front, compared to the lower part of the mouth, which is staying too much in the back. The upper inside of her mouth has also been pushed up high with her thumb.
    My daughter got palate expansion (upper part), but has also a part in the lower part of her mouth. She got it last thursday (today is thursday, so a week ago). Between the upper part and the lower part there were two pieces to connect them at both sides; one at each side.
    Those pieces gave her blisters after just one day, and I went back on friday. They took those pieces out, for she has a swimming exam coming up this sunday, and she couldn’t close her mouth (and would swallow water when swimming); apart from those blisters.
    I started to expand since last sunday, so today it was the 5th turn of the 16 turns she has to go through.
    My question, my concern, I am expanding without those two side pieces put on the expansions. How important are those pieces that connect the upper part with the lower part at the sides? Am I supposed to continue expanding if they are not put back on yet? I am planning to let them put them on, on tuesday (before expansion #10). She has swimming exam on sunday and violin exam on monday, so I don’t want to ruin things for her, but I am concerned not to ruin this expansion treatment on the other hand. She has no blisters anymore.
    Her orthodontist is not on the island, and will be back till after two weeks.
    I thank you for your answer.

    1. Hi,

      If I understand correctly, your orthodontist is modifying the jaws in two directions. The upper jaw is being expanded and the lower jaw is being brought forward. I believe there are no consequences for doing upper expansion and lower jaw advancement at the same time. Expansion without advancement is ok too. It sounds like your orthodontist is trying to do as much as possible with limited time on each patient which is good.

  207. Hello,

    I have a bit of orthodontic dilemma.

    Yesterday I had my train track brace removed and, although there was no gap prior to the treatment, I noticed a very tiny gap between my two middle teeth which could not be seen when the brace was on. I was fitted with bonded retainers and I will have to wear Hawley ones at night when they are ready in 10 days time. However, I am quite concerned that this tiny gap which is ruining the look my perfect smile will never close – the gap looks like I have a black stain between the two teeth in question and I am not happy about it. Will my retainers close this gap?If not can it be rectified before it’s too late? I think I will need to speak to my orthodontist about it but if you can give me impartial advice this would be much appreciated.



    1. Hi,
      A hawley retainer should close the gap. I’d call your orthodontist soon before the bonded retainers are placed so that the space can be closed before then.

      1. Hello,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Unfortunately, the bonded retainers were put on before the braces were removed and I had no way of telling that something was not quite right. I will contact the ortho tomorrow to see what can be done to rectify this tiny gap.



  208. Hello,

    My 8 year old daughter had an expander in for 6 months. She was scheduled to get her retainer today (after having the expander off for 2 weeks). Because of a miscommunication, we missed the appointment and the orthodontist office is closed for 6 days because of the holiday. Will her teeth move so much as to make the retainer unusable? It will be 3 weeks between the expander and the retainer.


    1. Hi,

      In my opinion, since you have had the RPE for 6 months, there will be little movement of the teeth waiting on the retainer and the retainer should fit.

  209. My son has just been for a check up and has had a couple of blocks changed reset on his front teeth, the orthodontist told him to avoid coloured foods for a while but didn’t say how long, are we talking hours or days?

    1. Hi,
      When a patient has the clear elastic ties placed on the brackets, they can change color depending on the types of foods that are eaten. For example, ketchup or spaghetti sauce can discolor clear elastic ties. If this is not your son’s situation, then I don’t know why your orthodontist stated to stay away from colored foods. If you are saying that your son’s brackets were repositioned on the front teeth, then you can resume normal eating habits.

  210. Hello,

    The glue that holds the wires together on my retainer eroded away after I idiotically left my retainer in its case with mouthwash for ~4 weeks. It’s not severely damaged at all, the wires around the back molars (one on each retainer; top + bottom) are the only ones where the glue weakened badly enough. Is there any way I can glue it back together myself to save time? Or should I contact my orthodontist?

    1. Hi Ken,

      You need a new retainer. The part that has weakened around the wires is acrylic, plastic, not glue. The pressures are great and no glue will hold the wires. Call your orthodontist. They may repair your retainer or make a new one.

  211. Hi,
    I am 21 and I had braces as a teen. In the years following braces my teeth got crooked again and my ortho gave me a spring retainer to help fix the crowding on the bottom. But I did not keep up with it and they are pretty crooked now. Is it possible that a retainer could be used to fix it even though it has been about 5 years? I am in the performing arts field and getting braces simply is not an option for me at this time. Also, are Inman Aligners effective?

    1. Hi,

      I’d suggest a consultation with an orthodontist. Depending on the amount of crowding, they may use a spring retainer or active clear aligners. There are companies that make a small set of clear active aligners for minor tooth movement. The Inman aligner is just like a spring retainer. It is a retainer that is active and made to move teeth.

  212. Hi,
    I am 16 and have had my braces on for a year now. All my teeth are straight at this point. On the other hand, my top and bottom teeth have only aligned on one side of my mouth. On the other side, the top and bottom teeth are slightly unaligned. My question is: If I ask my orthodontist to take off my braces now, will my teeth shift back to being crowded since one side of my jaw is not aligned?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi,

      Your teeth may move if the occlusion is unstable. After braces are removed, natural forces take over and they can place pressure on your teeth causing relapse.

  213. Dear Dr. Joseph Thompson,

    I was wondering how the force is generated by archwires in fixed appliances. Is it the arch wire trying to revert to its original shape?

    And for the teeth to move does the incident force of the archwires need to be greater than the tooth’s anchorage or does the reactionary force from the tooth need to be greater than anchorage?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi,

      Forces are placed on the teeth in a variety of ways. The majority of the time the force is placed by the arch wire going back to it’s original position. Very small forces are needed to cause movement of a tooth. Depending on what type of movement the force is between 15 to 150 grams. For example, for intrusion 15 to 25 grams, for body movement 100 to 150.

    1. Hi,

      It’s probably ok. We align the teeth by the front surface and not the back surface. Ask your orthodontist about it at your next visit.

  214. Hello,

    i got braces on a week and a half ago and i have noticed some white spots which i didn’t previously have. I saw the dentist before getting them on and he said i have no signs of decay and my teeth were very clean. I brush after every time i eat and I don’t eat sugar regularly. What are they and what should i do?

    1. Hi,
      If they are not decalcifaction spots then they are probably fluorosis which is a natural occurring white spot that doesn’t need any treatment. Most patients have fluorosis.

  215. My son is 15 and due to have a palate expander put in. Due to a schedule conflict with school exams and the end of the year insurance issues, I would like to know if 3 weeks is too long from taking the impression to installing the expander? thanks!

  216. 33 yr old adult – I have blue lower molar bite buildups bilaterally. This was done to prevent my bite from hitting the brackets in one spot. I have had my braces on for for 1 months now, and I am having challenges.

    1.) My molars are super sensitive on top/bottom. Especially where the buildup hits my top crown. The crown has a very sharp “zingy” feeling when I bite

    2.) I find that they make me clench at night…something I never did before.

    Should I grin and bare this or is there an alternative to the bit buildups?

    1. Hi,
      I would not grin and bare it. We call this “trauma from occlusion”. The sensitivity will get worse especially since you clench at night. I’d call your orthodontist and tell them your symptoms. They may want to see you and make modifications. Instead of the buildups, they may use a removable bite plate, move the offending brackets to a better location, or modify the brackets that are touching.

  217. About a year ago I got braces not only to straighten my teeth but to close the gap between my incisors. A couple of days ago a piece of gum in between those teeth became displaced and is loose above one of the teeth. It doesn’t hurt, but if you touch the point behind the teeth it stings a bit. Is it normal and will it go away, or should I be concerned?


    1. Hi, I’d advise that you see your family dentist. As we age, we have a higher chance of gum disease. One of the signs of gum disease is the loss of the gingival papilla. Floss that area daily. There may be food lodged in that area causing sensitivity to the touch. Schedule an appointment and tell the dentist what you have observed.

  218. I am 25 years old and am getting my spacers in tomorrow and my braces put on my top teeth next week. I’m worried about getting the spacers in and getting the brackets put on as my molars aren’t fully out of the gum. I’m not sure how the bracket will fit around my tooth without the tooth being fully exposed. This has me extremely worried because I have very low pain tolerance, and if Tylenol doesn’t work, I will be extremely nauseous during the whole process.

    1. Hi,

      At your age there should be no problem placing the bands. There is a natural pocket around the crown on the tooth that is deep enough for the band to fit. The orthodontist or assistant will fit the bands prior to cementing them in place. You will know at that time if the band can be placed. If there is not enough room, the band can be made smaller so it doesn’t impinge on the gums.

  219. I’ve got my braces removed yesterday. Doctor suggested that I get a fixed retainer for both top and bottom teeth for around 3 years. (I’ve had my braces on top and bottom for 2 years). I’ve had one cavity on my top front tooth treated. It formed between the teeth. Before the braces were put in, about 7 or 8 cavities had to be treated. Today the doctor has decided not to use the fixed “wire” retainer, but rather to form a composite “bar” across the same teeth, where the retainer bar would be placed. Now I can’t floss between the front teeth. I was told that it’s not very important (to be able to floss), however I see some food getting stuck from the front and it takes some effort to take it out with the tooth brush. The mouth wash is not effective, as it can’t rinse in between the teeth. Should I worry about it? Should I brush my front teeth after every meal now? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi, When fixed retainers are placed, it is very important that you clean the area well, that includes flossing. Brushing alone is not enough because you only clean about 60% of the tooth. The other 40% is cleaned by flossing. Ask your orthodontist if they can modify the composite bar so that you can floss under the bar and remove the plaque between the teeth. Read this article about flossing.

  220. Hi, I’m 14 and have twin block braces and earlier today I stood on them and snapped them in half.the metal bit in the middle is intact. Will I get fined for this? Ive got an appointment at my orthodontist soon will I get kicked out?

  221. Hi

    I have a Hawley retainer I have noticed a few hairline cracks at back/left side of my retainer. It is near the wire, but the wire isn’t damaged. Could it worsen? Is this is a reason for concern?

    1. Hi,

      That is a weak part of the retainer. It could break. Go in and see your orthodontist and show them the crack. They may want to replace it before it breaks.

  222. I’ve had my braces on for nearly 3 years. Long story short I want them off. I’m going to the dentist in three days and I’m going to ask my doctor if taking the braces off now will reverse the treatment. And if not could I please have them taken off. What are my options and legal rights? I don’t want to reverse the treatment I just really want them off. For mostly personal maybe even vain reasons but still. Any and as much info you could give me on this would be very appreciated.

    1. Hi,
      Treatment can be discontinued by doctor or patient at any time. The orthodontist may refer you to another orthodontist for your braces to be removed.

  223. Why might an orthodontist NOT put brackets on the last molars? My first round of braces 10 years ago, my orthodontist never places brackets/bands on my last molars. It seems fairly common that they don’t.

    Fast forward 10 years, I am an adult who is doing braces again (different Dr though), and this orthodontist placed brackets on my last molars 2 months after having them on.

    I am curious if there is a rhyme-or-reason to whether or not an ortho places brackets on the last molar and when.

    Thank you for answering.

    1. Hi, Every orthodontist approaches treatment in different ways. Placing braces on the molars allow for proper alignment of all the teeth and elastics to be used. So it’s best to place brackets on the molars.

  224. Hi,
    I just got my braces yesterday.
    My orthodontist and I decided on not extracting teeth as part of taking a more conservative approach in aligning my teeth. This is as my lip position is satisfactory to start with hence he didn’t want me to end up having a flat profile.However I have a class I malocclusion with mild crowding of the lower teeth and moderate crowding on the upper. I am told that not extracting teeth might affect my bite as I might develop an edge to edge bite after orthodontic treatment.
    Do you have any advice or tips for my situation?

    1. Hi,
      If your jaws are large enough to accommodate all of your teeth, then a non-extraction approach is good. If the bone is not large enough, extractions could be performed during treatment to obtain a proper stable occlusion. The decision to remove teeth is based on tooth size and jaw size which creates the crowding. An orthodontist can create space but there are limitations to how much that can be created. If you develop an edge to edge occlusion, your orthodontist may use elastics to create some overjet.

  225. 17/f 2 months with braces. When I first have my braces, it didn’t hurt just the usual discomfort of having braces. then i thought maybe when i get them tightened they will hurt but they didn’t. I know, it’s kinda funny how it sounds like i want them to hurt. So yeah, are my braces working? and one thing, my orthodontist didn’t put bands, is that okay? thanks!

    1. Hello,
      Braces will hurt sometimes and sometimes not. If there are wires in place, they are working. Also, its ok if bands were not placed. Every orthodontist approaches treatment differently.

  226. I went to an orthodontic consultation and they told me my case is quite difficult and need jaw surgery. I am seriously devastated. First of all I couldn’t find any facial deformity. I mean I’ve checked for overbite jaw surgery and I can see how they needed it as their lower jaw is obviously underdeveloped. My case is overbite with slanted gum exposure. I don’t know if that’s the reason why I should get the surgery. But then I’ve checked blogs and forums with my same case and they’re adults too but it was fixed with just braces. πŸ™

    I want to ask for second opinion but I am hesitant to do it coz I don’t wanna pay a hefty amount just for them to tell me that I need jaw surgery. It’s too invasive. Can’t my teeth be fixed without jaw surgery? I feel so sad and bitterness that my parents didn’t see the importance of braces when I was young despite of us having the money to pay for it. But I don’t want jaw surgery, I think it’s overdoing it. I don’t even have TMJ. My facial profile on side view is straight. I’m 28 years old so I wanna know if jaw surgery is the only way to fix my condition. I wanna cry πŸ™

    1. Hi, it is impossible for me to determine if surgery is indicated without taking records and an examination. I would suggest that you seek a second opinion or ask your orthodontist what could be done without surgery.

  227. Today I broke my retainer! πŸ™ I can’t get an appointment for 2 weeks, so what should i do? I just got the retainer a week ago and it already broke! Can I wear it? What can I do to ensure that my teeth are not to get crooked?

    1. Hello, I’d suggest that you try to wear the larger piece that covers your front teeth until you get a new one.

  228. Hello,
    I got my bottom braces on just over a year ago and my top braces on in February this year. On my top teeth I have a gap between my canine tooth and first premolar tooth. My orthodontist has been trying to close this gap for around two months now and it’s closed very slightly but it is still quite big. She says that the gum has bunched up and is stopping the two teeth from closing as the gum is swollen. I have a feeling that the two teeth are actually touching but the gum is so swollen it has gone over the teeth and the two teeth are touching under the gum. I’m getting them off in around four weeks now as I don’t think they can do anything more about it. My orthodontist also says there is a possibility of cutting off the extra/swollen gum but I don’t think that would be a good idea. I could get an x-ray to see if the teeth are touching but I have already had two X-rays this year and she says it’s not worth risking it. I am 14 years old.
    Do you have any tips?
    Do you think I should get my braces off in four weeks and do you think the two teeth are touching underneath?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi,
      Chances are your teeth are touching below the gum tissue. Once your braces are removed, your gum tissue will start to shrink back to it’s normal size. Brushing and flossing the gum tissue papilla will make it shrink faster. If the gum tissue papilla is not to normal size after six months, then you may need a gingivectomy. I do not make predictions about when braces are removed.

  229. Hi recently one of my bite blocks has broken off my back teeth, I’ve had braces for little over 2 months and I’m wondering if i need to make an immediate appointment.

    1. Hello, since the other bite block is still intact, you may not need an immediate appointment but I would call your orthodontist to see if you need it repaired.

  230. Hello! I am glad I found this My question is I have got a half broken front tooth n it has moved forward than my other incisor when i went to ortho he said that he cant do anything as the other teeth have pushed it forward and have not left enough space to put a new teeth.He said he can only do it if he replaces my three teeth and or else he will have to put a smaller size tooth if he removes only my single tooth.I want to know what should i do which option if better for me?

    1. Hi,
      Keeping your teeth is the best option. I would try to keep all the teeth and not extract any. Braces can be used to create space that is needed. I’d seek a second opinion.

      1. hi, i have an invisible retainer and i did not wear it for a month (forgot and was sorta lazy) now i just put it on and at the back of the mouth on the bottom the plastic is loose… i was wondering if its free to get my orthodontist to make another mold or do i have to pay to have it re-done thanks

  231. I just had my braces on, and I was wondering why my dentist did not do dental x rays on me? Is that okay? What are your best advise?

    1. Hi,
      I do not know why your dentist did not take radiographs. We use a panograph to evaluate many items like pathology, root morphology, eruption timing, possible impactions, etc. We also use a cephalogram to make measurements of jaw position and angulation of teeth.

  232. Hi, I am using Damon clear fixed braces and one of the plastic brackets got unstuck. My next appointment is in 3 weeks time – is it ok for me to wait for the next appointment or do i need to glue it back asap? My dentist is in a different city and it is quite a hassle to try and get an earlier appointment to the one I already booked. I would appreciate your advice. Many thanks, Svetlana

    1. Hello,
      You could probably wait for your next appointment. If the tooth that is not attached starts to move a lot, then call and be seen for an emergency visit.

  233. hi, i’m 13 years old and i just got braces 5 months ago. i only had and overbite and gaps in between my teeth before i got on my braces. my orthodontist put on a power chain on my front top 4 teeth for 6 weeks about 3 months ago. i still have two huge gaps in between each of lateral incisor and my canines. at my last visit my orthodontist put a power chain through each of my top three molars on either side of my face. he said next visit i will get elastics. im wondering when will he decide to put a power chain on all of my top teeth to close my ginormous gaps? im also worried that he wont, because why would he close the gaps between my molars if hes just going to move them in closer agian? thank you!

    1. Hi, It sounds like your orthodontist is gathering spaces up in certain areas so that the gaps can be closed all at the same time. The space closure is done by using a closing loop in the wire and not with power chain. I would not worry about the gaps. They should be completely closed before braces are removed.

  234. One side of my face is more define than the other. The left side of my face is more defined the the right. The right cheek is underdeveloped and saggy. Could this be due to years of favoring sleeping on the right side of the face and chewing more on the left? I do not believe it’s my bone structure, my left cheek is just more pronounced than the right. Makes the right side of my face look ‘deformed’.

    ps. How does mastication work? Is it possible that by chewing more on the right side, the left builds more muscle vise versa?

    1. Hello, There are four muscles that are used for mastication. I do observe more developed masseter muscles with patients who chew gum daily and during most waking hours. The muscle change is not unilaterial though. As you are chewing, all the muscles of mastication are working in harmony to create the chewing stroke. Even if you chew only on one side, I believe the muscle tone would be the same on both sides of the face.

  235. Hi, I was told that I’d have my braces taken off in a week and the week is almost up. My orthodontist told me to wear my rubber bands day and night and I do. The only thing I’m concerned with is that he will make me wait longer to get my braces off because my midline is slightly shifted to the left. What do you think?

    1. Hi, I do not try to predict when braces are going to be removed or not. This is a very subjective decision that is between the orthodontist and patient/parent. I’d say the rubber bands are being used to shift your midline and I’d continue with the elastic wear as instructed.

  236. Hello!
    So I have had braces for a year and 4 months and started noticing these deep smile/laugh lines around my mouth, I even sometimes feel really sore when I smile too much, do you think this will go away when I get my braces off? Please help me and tell me what to do, because they look really bad, and my orthodontics is not going to help me.
    Thank you…

    1. Hi,
      I do not think your smile lines will go away after braces are removed. I also think that they were not caused by the orthodontic treatment. How the tissues folds around the mouth are not addressed by an orthodontist. I’d suggest that you seek advice from a plastic surgeon after braces are removed. I do know that the nasolabial sulcus and folds around the commisure of the lips will deepen with age.

  237. Hello!,
    So I just got braces this is my second day with braces, (Jan 10th 2015) and I’ve realized that I really can’t chew at all no matter what. I’ve also noticed, that on a couple of teeth if I put any pressure on it anywhere it hurts a lot, I only got braces on my top set of teeth. So whenever a tooth on my bottom set touches a tooth on my top set it hurts this is only for a couple of teeth and the tooth that hurts is the tooth I chew with so I’m a bit worried. Is this stuff normal when you get braces or should I go see my dentist?

    1. Hi, it is normal for your teeth to be sore for about a week after braces are placed and adjustments.

  238. Hey if my son has a false tooth on the top of his mouth and he get a “permanent retainer” to hold the tooth in place , will the tooth be stable or would it be easy to wiggle around and loose feeling ? What things should he do to keep the tooth from falling out ? And what to expect ?

    1. Hi, I don’t think a fixed “permanent” retainer will hold a false tooth. The wire is not strong enough to keep from breaking during chewing. Most patients, with a missing tooth, use a hawley retainer with a false tooth attached to it.

  239. Hello, I just started to wear a hawley retainer and every time I put it on or remove it the clasp on my left molar keeps brushing it. The clasp on the left side of my retainer has a tighter grip on my molar, while the clasp on the right side isn’t tight or loose at all. When I put my retainer on, I keep having to push up the left clasp over its molar more, while the right clasp just goes over its molar without having to push it up. Is this okay/normal? Will the clasp on the left side, that brushes my molar during the installment/removal of my retainer, wear down the enamel of the tooth?

    1. Hi, It is ok/normal for the ball clasps to do that. The ball claps will not abrade your enamel.

  240. Hello, I’m 16 and I’m getting braces in a few weeks. My teeth are straight, however my upper teeth reach quite far over my lower teeth (about 6mm), and my upper front teeth hide most of the lower front teeth. I’m going to get braces with rubber bands, and I understand what the rubber bands will do, but not what the braces themselves are supposed to do, as my teeth are not crooked. Do they simply hold the elastics ? Aren’t there any other ways to make elastics stay in my mouth ? In fact, it seems quite “unusual” to get braces even though my teeth seem already straight …
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Braces allow the movement of whole segments of teeth while using elastics. Chances are your orthodontist is correcting a lot of problems with your malocclusion and braces are needed to do so.

  241. Hi. My 13 yr old daughter has a impacted tooth (eye tooth that we have been monitoring since age 6 – braces etc ) and she had a bracket with a power chain put on about 6 weeks ago. The last visit to the orthodontist she said she was worried that as the impacted tooth moved.. and it was pressing into her other tooth potentially damaging it. With that she told me to go back to the oral surgeon to see if he agreed and had any ideas. I went to the oral surgeon – he was first unprofessional in stating that it’s her job to figure this out (another story in itself). Then he said he couldn’t think of anything – except to the pull the tooth (good tooth) so the impacted eye tooth isn’t lost. So I am a little frustrated.. that they couldn’t fix this problem – and what I have been trying to avoid (losing a tooth) is our only option? I needed someone else’s opinion on whether this is normal or if I need to find a new orthodontist? I am taking my daughter back to the ortho on Friday and would appreciate any help/expertise you may have for us.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, The cells that resorb tooth and bone usually do not resorb a permanent root as it is protracted into the mouth. I can happen though. I’d get a second opinion.

  242. Hi, I have had my braces on for almost 2 years and a month, my orthodontist has recently told me that I will be getting my braces off in March. I was wondering if it hurts to get the brackets off, and also if it hurts when the doctor uses the drill to grind off the glue? Also my mid line is a little off centered, how long would it take to fix that, and I have spacing when I bite down on my left side underneath my upper incisors, and canines. How long will that take to fix? I would prefer to not be in my braces any longer that what she told me, so I would like to know the duration times to fix those problems. Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Hello, it does not hurt having braces removed and taking the adhesive off. As far as how long to correct the other items you mentioned, you will have to ask your orthodontist about timing.

  243. Hi,

    I read your answer to a similar question, but it didn’t quite cover my situation. I had a fixed retainer, or a bar cemented to the back of my front two teeth (only) because I had a gap between them before I got braces, and after only two years, the bar broke. My orthodontist told me I need to get the bar fixed or my teeth will move, but I’ve heard people usually lose those bars eventually anyway. My original orthodontist is far away, and two nearby ones gave me $700 estimates for repairing the bar (my orthodontist said $100). I was wondering if I do indeed need to get it fixed. I have a removable retainer that I wear at night, and since the bar broke I’ve been noticing that it is tighter, and so my teeth are moving.


    1. Hi, you could wait and see if the space starts to open up. If it does, then have a bonded retainer replaced.

  244. Hello Doctor Thompson,
    I am 50 and about to have braces for the second time. At 30 top only and now having upper and lower 6 month braces. My lower teeth are very crowded, my dentist did say I have a small mouth and the third tooth either side of my front incisors are very twisted to the front centre. I’ve had my impressions and photos done from all angles and knew I would need a tooth removed due to lack of space but saw my dentist this morning and was told my lower front incisor will be removed to make the space. I’m perturbed at having a front tooth removed and having a gap for how long? I can’t see how my other teeth will fill that space and thought a back molar would be removed.

    1. Hello, if you have had severe relapse, sometimes a lower incisor is removed to create a stable occlusion. It is an option that is used for some adults.

  245. I got braces through my dentist (not orthodontist) to close some gaps and fix my bite (my front teeth rest directly on top of each other). Part of this treatment involves attaching bands to the buttons on each side of my mouth to shift the teeth to rearrange my bite. According to my treatment plan, it will take 40 trays to fix. I’m on tray five right now, but since I started wearing them, the buttons have repeatedly popped off, to the point where I have yet to wear both bands simultaneously for more than a few hours.

    Each time a button pops off, I have been able to go back to the dentist to have the button replaced, although I have often had to wait days inbetween when the button pops off to when when I get it fixed because my dentist is only in two days of the week.

    At what point should I try to see if I can find someone else to take over the treatment? I’m tired of the bands and buttons popping off, especially when it happens at work (it’s embarassing) or happens in general (it feels like I’m not really progressing in my treatment plan without being able to keep the bands in). Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hi, If you have lost confidence in your dentist, then I would seek a second opinion from an orthodontic specialist. Use the American Association of Orthodontists website to find an orthodontic specialist close to you at http://mylifemysmile.org

  246. Hello, I’ll first start off by saying I hate my teeth. People say that they love my teeth, but I really don’t like them. I have never been to an orthodontist but I am begging my parents to take me to one. I have been to my dentist multiple times & he has always told me “no, you won’t need braces”. It’s not that I want braces, but I want a nice, big and confident smile.

    I find that my smile is a tad bit crooked. Both of my canine teeth are slightly impacted but you can really notice it. My left central incisor is slightly over my right incisor, it’s hard for anyone else to notice it but I can really notice it. Also my second premolar on the right side of my jaw is impacted outwards. Also on my left canine tooth I still have a baby tooth there that won’t fall out because my adult canine that’s still growing in after around 1-2 years, the baby tooth is a little wiggly. I am supposed to get that pulled out. As for my bottom teeth they are pretty straight just my right lateral incisor is a little- barely noticeable, tilted outwards, but I can live with that.

    I can’t live my whole life with these teeth, I don’t like my smile. I don’t smile with my teeth because even though they look straight to people they aren’t good enough for me. What can I do? What does it sound like an orthodontist can do? Also would it be ok if I privately email you my teeth so you can see what I am talking about, it’s pretty hard to describe!

    Thanks, Emily
    NL, Canada

    1. Hi,
      You can always get a second opinion about treatment. Describe to the new orthodontist what you do not like. There may be an alternative to braces for minor tooth movement. I use Simpli5 which are 5 active clear retainers that move the teeth slightly from one retainer to the next. It works for certain problems that are not severe.

  247. Hi,
    I currently got braces about two months ago and my gums in the back are going over my bracket some ,over the glue part and I’m wonderingbwhatcimcdoing wrong I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do.

    1. Hello,

      It is normal for the gum tissues to become slightly puffy during treatment around the braces. Just keep brushing and flossing that area. The puffy gum tissue may remain the same until the braces are removed.

  248. Hi all I am 15 and I recently went to the dentist and got told that I need braces. I have crowded teeth that are really difficult to clean being the reason why. I went to the orthodontist part of the dentist for a 5 min consultation and they quoted me at $8500. My parents cannot afford that as my dad runs his own business and he is not getting much work right now. I also have 2 peg laterals but the dentist said that i would need braces first before i can get them fixed. I ask my parents almost everyday when I can get braces and they yell at me. I am so embarrassed of my teeth I dread going to school everyday because of them. I know things could be worse I could be starving and everything but i cant help it I’m just so embarrassed about them! Is there any cheaper way I can get braces or anything? I live in australia and I don’t think there are any foundations or anything here that get you braces for cheaper. I don’t want to wait any longer! Also my mum get a payment plan she thinks they will charge a lot of interest. and both my parents think braces are only for cosmetic purposes. so I’m not sure what to do. please help

    1. Hi,

      Prices vary from orthodontist to orthodontist. I’d go to another orthodontist and find out their treatment plan and price.

  249. I have made my first orthodontist appointment in 3 weeks because of a crossbite. Will I be getting the braces during my first appointment and will they be on the top and bottom if the tooth causing this bite is on the top?

    1. Hello,
      The first appointment is usually an examination. The second appointment, records are taken. The third appointment, braces are placed upper and lower.

  250. Hi,

    I am very concerned that the space in the middle of my teeth will not close. I had braces throughout my teenage years. During my senior year of college, I noticed that the space in the middle of my front teeth appeared to be coming back in a “V” shape. I went to an orthodontist about 2 years later to receive treatment and he shaved piece of my two front teeth off and gave me a retainer that would push the teeth back in place and close the gap. After two weeks, I returned to his office. The gap was closed and he placed a permanent retainer behind my teeth. Do to my bite he had to keep adjusting the permanent retainer. Roughly a month later it broke. I was wearing of his orthodontia so I was referred to another orthodontist through my dentist. The other orthodontist tried to put the permanent retainer back on and it broke as well. Now I have a slight space in my front teeth and I am very concerned. What should I do? I really want this space to close and I am very concerned.

    1. Hi,
      The best solution is a bonded lingual retainer. I’d close the space with the retainer and have another bonded lingual wire retainer placed again. If your lower incisors continue to knock it off then a second choice is placing bonding on the sides of the central incisors. I don’t like this option. I’d work with the orthodontist until a bonded lingual retainer stays. You may have to modify the lower or upper teeth before the wire is bonded to give it more room and be out of the way of biting forces.

  251. Hello Dr. Thompson,
    I had braces placed at the age of 25 (almost 10 years ago). My teeth were a little bucked and a couple teeth were crooked, nothing major. My teeth were corrected, but since having my braces removed, my bite has never felt right. My teeth don’t close together comfortably. Several of my teeth and molars hit at odd spots and some don’t touch at all. If I purposely slide my bottom jaw to the right, the teeth align, but it is uncomfortable to keep my jaw in that position. I didn’t mention anything to my ortho at that time thinking the teeth would settle over time and the problem would resolve itself.

    Now, almost 10 years later, I’m still having the same issue and am wondering if there is anything that can be done about my bite…should I go see my ortho again? Will I need to be put back into braces to have my bite aligned or are there other types of appliances that can correct this issue?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi,

      I advise seeing your family dentist first and ask if an occlusal equilibration should be performed. This process identifies occlusal prematurities and reduces them. Sometimes this is enough to make your bite feel better. If that does not help, then talk with an orthodontist. You may be a candidate for clear aligners.

  252. Hi Dr. Thompson,
    I am 13 ,I have been recently diagnosed with TMJ , every time I open my mouth widely my whole jaw pops, when i eat I hear it click also it’s a habit of mine to randomly pop it,it does tend to get very sore and ache towards the end of the day, I have been consulted to an othodontist but do you think it is a possibility I may get braces ? If so do you think (as I’m on the NHS) they will give me braces for free? Because my parents cannot afford them as they are a lot of money! If not what are the other possibilitys ?

    1. Hi, Please stop your random habit of popping your TMJ. It is not good for your joint. I do not know the requirements needed for NHS to pay for your orthodontic treatment. Your parents will need to seek a provider that works with NHS.

  253. hello sir,
    I got braces 9 months back for upper anterior single tooth cross bite and lower anterior teeth crowding,my treatment is almost done and i got permanent retainer wire for upper and lower anterior teeth,my lower braces were removed ,my question is my posterior teeth are not in occlusion ,will my occlusion will be corrected by its
    self or it will remain same until i remove the retainer ?
    thank u.

    1. Hi,
      If your posterior teeth are slightly out of occlusion (< 1mm), then they may erupt into occlusion with the fixed retainers in place.

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