328 thoughts on “Answered Questions Page9

  1. Hello,

    I was wondering if young people (7 to 10 w/ adultmolars) with weak enamel should be kept in permanent retainers for several years? What are the possible complications and would you suggest a removable retainer instead?

    Thanks, Jennifer

    1. Hi,
      I mainly prefer removable retainers over fixed retainers. With a removable retainer, I can wean the patient off of it and make adjustments while natural forces take over. With a fixed retainer, it is hard to keep clean and really you haven’t let natural forces take over. If the fixed retainer is removed many years later, natural forces could move the teeth and you may not be connected to an orthodontist at that time.

  2. Hi Dr. Thompson,

    I was really hoping that you could give me some answers on my orthodontic needs. I’ve uploaded a photo of my teeth in the website box.

    I had braces when I was younger.. they came off when I was 13 and I’m 30 now. I have numerous problems with my teeth, including crowding, a bad bite (my jaw is clenched in the photo), and an underbite. I know I will likely need to get braces again, but in the meantime, I was wondering if there is anything that I can do to just straighten out my top front teeth? Is this something that I could possibly fix with a retainer until I’m able to get braces again?

    Thank you so much for your help,


    1. Hi Natalie,
      I have reviewed your photo and it shows your left central incisor is facial and both your lateral incisors are lingual. You have an open bite and your palate is narrow. Treatment with braces or Invisalign is your best option. For temporary minor tooth movement, a hawley retainer with finger springs, a spring retainer or Simpli5 could be used. Each work differently and have different costs. For them to work, interproximal enamel reduction is needed on the mesial and distal surface of your central incisors and the mesial surface of the maxillary cuspids.

    1. Hi,
      Usually, an orthodontist removes four premolars to relieve crowding of the dental arch. In my opinion, it will not change the profile of your face.

  3. I have a congenially missing lateral incisor and had braces put on to close the space. I am not happy with the result and am wondering if I can reopen the space without extracting any teeth so I can get an implant like I wanted in the first place. My orthodontist pushed for space closure from the beginning and told me the result would be symmetrical and it’s not. I have had bonding done to make the canine square like a lateral and the result is embarrassing. I’m not interested in shaving my teeth down for veneers.



    1. Hi,
      Since upper posterior teeth have moved forward, the lateral incisor spaces can be opened but your overjet may increase. Class II elastics could be worn to reduce the new overjet but your final treatment results may not be optimal.

  4. Hello,
    I broke my lower jaw 4 weeks ago and I my jaw was wired shut. Only one week left, while it will be removed, but I noticed that, arch bars have crooked my upper teeth. Is there is possibility that after removing my teeth will back straight?

    1. Hi, it is possible that your teeth will move back into your old position after the arch bars are removed.

  5. Hello Dr. Thompson,

    I found your questions answered very helpful, but can’t seem to find the answer to my question, so here I go. I hope you get the chance to answer…
    about three days ago I had my usual monthly tightening app, my dentist informed me I have to wear an elastic band that goes across my top teeth (left hook to right hook) and then come down on each side to hook in the bottom hooks, forming sort of like a square. I felt a bit of discomfort the first few hours I wore it, the second day the pain was unbearable, I took pain killers to ease the pain. I have now noticed I have a bad bruise on my gums and they often bleed when I remove the elastic to brush my teeth.

    Is this normal? or how normal is normal?

    1. Hi,

      Your gum tissues should not bleed from wearing anterior box elastics. Call your orthodontist and tell them what you are experiencing. If your gums bleed when you brush, that indicates that you are not removing the plaque adequately enough.

  6. Good day Dr.Thompson. Ive been wearing braces for 1 yr and 3 months now.I dont have k9 since grade school,now im 28yrs old. I wear them to correct the space on the k9 space right side now i noticed that my midline shifted to the right and my smile is getting worst than not having braces.can my dentist return open back the space so that my midline be corrected? Is it possible to bring back the natural position of my teeth. I wouldnt mind to open back the space as long as the midline will be corrected. If that happens Is there any possibility that my teeth will become more weaker as it moving vice versa? Thank you.

    1. Hi, By opening the space, the midline should shift back to normal. Moving the teeth will not make them weaker.

  7. hello doctor,
    Do you recommend using the mini screws with ortho treatment for gummy smile? will it retain forever? what are the disadvantages?

    1. Hi,
      I have not used Temporary Anchorage Device (TADs) to decrease vertical maxillary excess (VME). I’d probably approach the VME by suggesting orthognathic surgery since not many cases have been shown using TADs for this problem. I also think that the severity of the VME would dictate what course of treatment should be taken.

  8. Currently, I go to get braces on Wednesday the 25th. But I’ve just recently discovered a small hole in one of my teeth. I know that orthodontist are very picky about the condition of teeth before they allow braces. Would there be any possible way of getting the braces put on, and then filling that small hole?

    1. Hi,

      It depends on where the cavity (hole) is located. Chances are they can place the braces. Show your orthodontist what you have found before braces are placed.

  9. Hi Doctor

    I got twin block braces about 3 weeks ago and everything has been normal with them however I’ve noticed when I’m cleaning them at night and in the mornings that inside the braces there are a few small white spots. I have clear braces so the spots are easier to see but I’d like to know what the spots could be and how I can maybe get rid of them.


    1. Hi,
      The white spots could be fluorosis, bracket adhesive or decalcification. I’d guess it’s fluorosis since you are keeping your teeth clean. Fluorosis is natural fluoride incorporated into the enamel when it is formed. Everyone has these white spots and some patients will notice them when braces are placed. Ask your orthodontist about the white spots at your next visit.

  10. Hi Dr. Thompson,

    I’m 25 years old and I just started my braces treatment a couple of weeks ago. I have a few questions. My orthodontist did not take impressions of my teeth before putting on my braces; is this normal? He did however take a couple different x-rays. Is it possible that he can use these in place of impressions? I’m just concerned because everyone else that I know that had braces also had impressions made. Now about my treatment – I have an impacted canine and my orthodontist said I’m borderline too old to have this tooth successfully pulled down. What is your experience with patients in their mid-20’s having impacted canines? I’m worried about paying for tooth exposure surgery only to find out that the tooth is fused to the bone and possibly being left with a gap where my baby tooth was (it’s still in place but will be removed before the surgery). Lastly, I have a severe deep bite. How, exactly, are deep bites corrected with braces and/or elastics? Should correcting my deep bite help with my TMD?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi,
      Some orthodontists do not make pre-treatment models, most do. Radiographs do not give the same information as models. There are no age restrictions on protracting an impacted cuspid. The only contraindication to going after a cuspid is it’s beginning position. The more horizontal, the less likely it can be brought into occlusion. Deep bites are corrected with arch wires and elastics and it should help with your TMD.

      1. Hi Dr. Thompson

        My wife received her new Hawley retainers a few days ago and both are causing her issues. I understand the retainer is made with acrylic and metal. My wife has an allergic reaction when coming in contact with acrylics. Have you personally experienced a situation with a patient who had an allergic reaction to retainers made with acrylic? If so, is there other retainer type alternatives?

        1. Hi, No I have not seen an allergic reaction from the acrylic. You may want to try an hyrax clear aligner since it is make of plastic and not acrylic. Also, a lower bonded retainer could be considered.

  11. My daughter just got her Hawley retainer after having her braces removed and it does not fit against the roof of her mouth causing an excessive amount of saliva to build up between the retainer and the roof of her mouth and just doesn’t feel right. It also doesn’t allow her speak properly. I realize that the lisp will take time but this is more that that. My orthodontist is saying that the retainer should not sit against her mouth but I am reading otherwise. Can you please clarify how this retainer should fit?

    1. Hi,
      Some hawley retainers, when the acrylic hardens, will pull away from the palate of the model. Therefore, it is normal for the acrylic to not touch the roof of the mouth in patients with a high palatal vault. After some time, saliva production will decrease and speech will improve.

  12. I got my braces put on yesterday I didnt get any teeth removed and my mouth is crowded. I dont undertsand how my teeth will get straight if there is no room for them to shift. I also only got braces on the top and not bottom. Why do they put them on at different time?

    1. Hello.
      We can create space by creating bone growth and increasing arch length and arch form width with the braces. We have guidelines to determine if extractions are indicated. By placing braces on the upper first, the upper teeth can be moved so that they will not knock off the lower brackets when they are placed.

  13. Hi,
    So I’ve had braces for almost a year now. I brush my teeth properly, I floss, I use mouthwash, but my teeth have brown spots. Mainly on my bottom row of teeth under just under and above the brackets, but also INBETWEEN my teeth. I brush well everywhere, I always get told I am brushing well when I go to my orthodontist, but the brown spots bother me. Is there any way I can get rid of them before I get my braces off? I don’t want to have to deal with stains and white spots once they’re off.

    1. Hi.
      This sounds like food stains. It could be the bracket adhesive changing color. You could get your teeth cleaned and have it removed with a prophy jet.

  14. Hello Dr. Thompson,

    I am wondering if I can use crest whitening strips on my teeth with permanent retainer? They are bonded retainers (permanent ones behind teeth) on the top and bottom. Thanks.

    1. Hello.
      A night guard is indicated for patients who show excessive enamel wear by bruxism or clenching. Both can cause headaches and temporomandibular dysfunction.

  15. Hello Dr. Thompson,
    I wear braces (top only) since one week to correct an overbite. I noticed that the archwire on my bicuspids, instead of sitting in the bracket’s slot as it does on my other teeth, is tied under the upper tie-wings of the brackets. It was not accidentally moved, as I saw it right after getting braces on. Why is the archwire placed over the bracket ? Does it have something to do with correcting the “vertical” overbite ?
    Also, I do not have any bands or brackets on my second molars. Is that common ? Will these teeth be bracketed later ?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi.
      Tying an arch wire above the wings of a premolar bracket will cause the premolar to extrude. This is just one way of extruding a tooth that an orthodontist can use. If your 2nd molars need to be moved, brackets will be placed. In some cases, 2nd molars are in good positions and do not need to be bracketed or banded.

  16. Hi
    I have been in the last stages of my ortho treatment for about 2 or 3 months. The reason being is, from what I understand, my teeth are small. I started 20 months ago with spaces across my 4 front teeth and have now come to a screeching halt because the space between my 2’s and 3’s won’t close up. My orthodontist made space around my 2’s and sent me to my dentist with the plan to build up those teeth. Upon examination my dentist figured up that my two front teeth measure 8 mm AND my 2’s and the space surrounding them in total measure up to 8 mm. So if he were to build them up I’d have 4 front teeth that were all the same size. He is almost refusing to do this and is suggesting porcelain veneers. Something I am complete against because I am very happy with the size of my teeth and they are very healthy and strong. I am not a professional whatsoever, I’m just frustrated and I’m wondering, could they not put my 4 front teeth back together and possibly just build up my kanines to close the spaces?… as I’ve seen on a lot of people it seems it’s okay if these teeth are larger. I have an appointment on the 17th and am considering asking this of them. I’d just like your opinion. Thank you

    1. Hi,
      The maxillary incisors do vary a lot in width from patient to patient. Small lateral incisors are nicknamed, “peg laterals” and it is normal to place space around them and build them up during or after orthodontic treatment. The reason for this course of action is to create stability in the occlusion so that spacing will not occur in the future. As far as building up the cuspids, it will not work well. The cuspids take a lot of force and bond failure can occur plus the aesthetics will not be proper. You may want to get another opinion about what options are available for restoring the lateral incisors.

  17. Hello Doc,
    i want to ask that if intrusion of incisors possible via braces . my lower incisors almost touches the upper gum. It doesn’t hurt my gum but is a cause of my deep bite. My dentist says its a skeletal deep bite and can’t be corrected. jaw surgery is required..my age is 20..is he right???

    1. Hi,
      Intrusion of the incisors can be performed at any age. To correct your malocclusion it may require intrusion with braces and also orthognathic surgery. I’d advise that you make an appointment with an orthodontic specialist to develop a treatment plan.

  18. What is the name of a plate which is used to keep open the gaps from tooth extractions? I have two plates in my mouth still and I also have my braces. Is this meant to happen or should the plates have been removed?

    1. Hello,
      I’m not completely sure of what is placed in your mouth. You may be describing a space maintainer, like a band and loop or a nance arch. At some point in time, the plates will need to be removed to close the extraction spaces.

  19. I am supposed to be getting my braces off this wednesday, however, I noticed a tiny gap in between my top front teeth open up. My orthodontist told me that my final wire is very easily bent and that gaps are easier to occur. Will my orthodontist take my braces off like she is supposed to, or will she send me back for a week to close up the gap? Could the retainer close the small gap?

    1. Hi,
      Sorry Jake. Since I don’t know the size and location of the space, I can’t predict what your orthodontist will do.

  20. Hello Dr. Thompson,
    I need some filling in of information about my misunderstandings. Okay so let me set it straight, I have braces. I have had braces for about 2 3/4 years, and my goal time was to be about 3-3 1/2 years. Honestly my teeth are pretty straight, my bites pretty aligned, and it looks pretty good. The last I was there, about 8 weeks ago, my orthodontists had told me that the next time, which is in two days, I would ago I would get an impression for my retainer. Could you please explain if I’m getting my braces off? If not, when? Is it soon? And also could you explain how there going to manuver around my braces to take the impression?

    1. Hi,
      When impressions are taken for retainers, the wire is removed and the impression is taken with the brackets in place. The lab will use the model to make your retainers so that when your braces are removed, your retainers can be fitted at that appointment. It should be soon.

  21. Hello!
    About 10 years ago I had trauma (i fell on my face) and on one of my front teeth went little crooked. Now I want braces, but if I had consultation with my orthodontist he said that there are some risks like my front teeth nerve (traumatized teeth) could die and the tooth may go dark. Now I really scare it and even think is it point to take a risk, cause maybe later I have straight teeth but dead and dark. Does this situation happen often and is there point to take risk?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, During the consultation visit an orthodontist will give you all the information and potential risks that you need to know so that you can make an informed decision of whether you want to go through the treatment or not. In your case, the traumatized tooth can discolor during treatment. You have to weigh the risks and make the choice. It is a good sign that the tooth has not discolored in the past ten years however discoloration of the tooth could occur when it is moved.

  22. Hi Dr. Thompson, I was wondering how long do you recommend I wait to get my teeth whitened after I get my braces off? Also, I need to get all 4 of my wisdom teeth out so what should I do about my retainers?
    -Thank you .

    1. Hi, Erkia

      If you have white decalcification spots, I’d use a Rx toothpaste like Prevident 5000 for six months. This would harden the enamel and change the white spot to a more normal color then you could consider whitening your teeth. To your second question, I’d wear the retainers full time for six months, then consider having 3rd molars removed. That way, when you are swollen and you can’t wear your retainers, your teeth will have a less chance of moving while the swelling goes down.

  23. hello! Im 19 years old and have top clear braces for about 8 months now. When I was a kid I wore those braces for over night for good 5 years. Then when I finished my teeth were really straight.Then they started shifting back (the top ones). Then I got braces 8 months ago though only top ones (because I could only afford those and only my upper teeth were crooked). Now Im taking them off in a week and I was wondering:
    I know Ill get the retainer for my upper teeth but is there any way I could ask for a bottom reteiner even though i didnt wear the bottom braces. Just in case my bottom teeth start to get crooked it will stop that. How much does the retainer cost?

    1. Hi. You can wear a lower retainer. It will maintain tooth positions, be preventive and will not hurt your dental health. A lot of adults do. Just ask your orthodontist to make you one.

  24. Hello, I recently had oral surgery on my impacted canines about 6 months ago. One of the two teeth has came down and has a bracket on it. The other is so close to coming out i can see the tooth and the chain through my gums. Is there a way I can make it come in faster or would it be possible to ask my orthodontist to tie my chain again making it come down maybe quicker? What should I do? Thank u

    1. Hi, There is nothing that you can do personally however there are some orthodontists that will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the crown and then remove the gum tissue. Your orthodontist may refer you to your family dentist or a periodontist for a gingivectomy. By removing the gum tissue, the tooth should come in quicker.

  25. Hello Dr. Thompson,

    About 3 years ago I had braces put in and I was very pleased with the results after the 2 year period. I was so pleased with the results that I refused to use my retainer, now my two front teeth moved a little forward and its embarrassing to even smile. My retainer fits though is painful when I take it off. That being said, my question is can I use my retainer or do I have to get a new one and if I start to use my retainer again every night would there be a chance that they will straighten up again or is it too late? and how long will I need to wear it for so they are permanently straight again?

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Hi,

      I’d advise that you start wearing your old retainer. That may move the teeth back into good positions. After a couple of months, visit your orthodontist. The orthodontist can perform interproximal enamel reduction (IPR) and adjust your retainers. Without IPR, your teeth will probably move out of place when you stop wearing your retainers again.

  26. Hello, I am a 17 year old student and have been awaiting orthodontic surgery for my jaw. I am expected to have braces on in the near future. I have already had x-rays, impressions and photographs done… but I had a panic attack during the impressions as I have anxiety. I don’t usually have a bad gag reflex, but the thought of something temporarily blocking my airway makes me panic as I feel as though I can’t breathe, although I know I can. I was wondering if I need impressions done again before I have my braces, as I need to prepare myself to ensure that I don’t have another panic attack as it was quite embarrassing and something that taunts me often. So the main question is – do I have to have impressions done again before I have the braces if I had them done only a couple of months ago?

    1. Hi,

      For surgery patients, impressions are taken often during treatment. You could ask your orthodontist to use a fast set alginate impression material and spray topical anesthetic on your posterior palate to numb it. Both could help.

  27. I have had braces for several years and just found out that my upper right central incisor root was pushed out of the bone toward my lip and it has been there for approximately 1 year.
    Is it possible for the root to be pushed back into the bone?
    Is this tooth at risk of dying?
    Is the bone at risk of collapsing/dying since there is no longer a root in it?
    Thank You

    1. Hello,

      You should use search terms like “dental dehiscence” and “dental fenestration” to learn about this topic. In my opinion, the root may be place in a better position but not back into the bone. There is always a chance the tooth may become non-vital in the future but it is a good sign that it has not happened for a year. I believe the bone will remain vital around the root and I also believe a lot of patients, about 20% of teeth, have dehiscences or fenestrations of the alveolar bone without consequences. A consultation with a periodontist may give you more information. This 2009 paper suggests a higher incidence than 20%.

  28. What are someways to remove the pain. I have a button bracket to pull my teeth outward. It has elastics to the top outer teeth. It rubs against my tongue. How do I remove the pain? It hurts so bad I cried! BTW, I’m 14

    1. Hi,

      Over time the pain will lessen. You can use OTC meds as well. If the button is irritating, try to place a large piece of wax on the button. If the irritation lasts for days and is not getting better, see your orthodontist.

  29. Hi,

    I had braces about ten years ago. After my braces were removed I had a permanent retainer put in on my bottom teeth. Last night while flossing my bottom retainer popped off and I believe damaged the inside of my canine teeth. I have never had any cavities or dental issues before, which is why I am very nervous. I have scheduled a follow up with my dentist but I am curious as to what will happen to fix my teeth. To me it appears that a layer of my two canines were chipped off.


    1. Hi, A fixed retainer, when it pops off, is not strong enough to fracture the enamel. You are probably feeling the left over adhesive or calculus which can easily be removed.

  30. Hi,
    I got my braces off about 2 years ago. My ortho said my retainer would take a week to make and be delivered to me (which it did) but i went on a cruise the day before the retainer was delivered. Therefore, for those 2 weeks of fresh teeth without braces, my teeth had shifted majorly and it hurt very bad to wear my retainer so i didnt. Now, my top retainer still fits, but my bottom teeth have returned to a little bit of crowding. If i wear my original retainer all day everyday for a while, will my teeth slowly go back or am i wasting my time? Thank you!

  31. Ummmm… What do i do when the wire on the back my teeth has came off and i don’t know how get the cement off my teeth and ive gotten my braces off?

    1. Hi. You can snip the wire with wire cuttings for temporary relief or go see your orthodontist for a repair.

  32. Hello Dr. Thompson,

    I am going to start using an Invisalign trays. I wonder is it possible to change a doctor during using this tool. In my case I have to start in one clinic and then due to relocation in another country I have to continue with another doctor and clinic. Is it possible can I just visit a new doctor with all my Invisalign trays, that were developed under observation of previous doctor?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, You will need to find another Invisalign provider to transfer to. They can continue your treatment.

  33. I had two consultations and completely different treatment plan. The first one advised top bottom braces with and an palatial expander on the lower jaw. The second seemed quite aggressive. Extract four teeth and the treatment would be over three years versus two years advised by the first. Confused how it could be so different?!

    1. Hello, You can get different treatment plans probably due to the amount of crowding that the case has. One doctor is going to create space by the braces and expansion. This is ok if the patient is growing and the bone can handle the amount of space created. The other doctor thinks expansion will create instability of the bite and relapse will occur. He/she wants to create space by extraction. Both treatment plans are acceptable with different outcomes. You need to discuss more with both doctors to decide the best choice for you. Also, another opinion would be appropriate. Make sure you are consulting with an orthodontic specialist.

  34. Hi doctor,
    I’ve got a impacted upper right canine tooth. And because I’m 18 my dentist has reccomended orthodontics over dental implants. How visible are the braces that would be required? I’d really rather not have a massive tension wire across all of my teeth. Is there any option that is at least somewhat aesthetically pleasing?

    1. Hi, You will have to have full traditional braces to protract an impacted cuspid into position. You could use ceramic braces but there is no way around the appearance. A natural cuspid is better than an implant.

  35. I have had my braces off for about 7 years, but I just recently got a new (acrylic & wire) retainer for my lower teeth because my permanent retainer fell off and, a few months later, the old clear plastic retainer got rough and started giving me mouth sores. In the time it took to make a new one, my teeth moved a little, so I’m now wearing the bottom retainer basically all the time, except for eating, oral hygiene, and using dictation software (the little speech lisp really confuses the software). None of that is a problem.

    My question is about cleaning it. I have been using effervescent denture cleaner daily as suggested by my orthodonitist. Using a toothbrush to scrub it is extremely painful due to a disability (same reason I have to worry about dictation software). I think I’m starting to notice a slight build-up on the arcylic. Is there anything else I can do to clean it that doesn’t involve scrubbing with my hands? Everything I can find online says to use a brush of some sort, and that’s really not possible for me. (Yep, my orthodonitist recommended a toothbrush seven years ago when I got my first retainer. I didn’t have a disability at that time, and I forgot to ask when I was in his office a few weeks ago.)

    (My upper retainer seems to be staying fairly clean with just the denture cleaner and thorough rinsing, but I only wear it at night a few nights a week.)


    1. Hi, Plaque will build up on some patients retainers more than others due to the physical characteristics of the patient’s oral environment. Once this white plaque forms calculus, it can only be removed by scraping it off with a metal object. In your case, you may want to consider an ultrasonic cleaner with denture cleaner or 10% diluted bleach solution. Make sure when you clean your retainer it does not feel slimy indicating plaque is still on it. Clean it until no residue is felt. I hope that helps. There are some suggestions under the Products for Braces tab.

  36. Hi! I got my braces off on tne 20th of march and was supposed to wear my retainers as soon as i got them (about 2 or 3 days after) but I didn’t start wearing them until the 29th, now my teeth feel uncomfortable and my back teeth don’t touch.

    I’ve been noticing that on and off since my braces came off. My orthodontist told me my teeth will need to “settle” after my braces come off. Is all this normal? Did I take too long to start wearing my retainer and mess everything up?

    1. Hi. Settling occurs on every patient and it is normal. Wear your retainers as instructed and over time your orthodontist will wean you off of the retainers. That is when most of the settling will occur.

  37. Hi,

    I misplaced my invisalign tray, and I have neither the previous or future pair. I’m out of state currently, so I won’t be able to reach my Orthodontist till some time (a week or so). Do you have any suggestions? Or do you know what will happen because of this??

    1. Hello,

      You may have to use a previous tray and wait until a new tray is made. Call your orthodontist as soon as you can.

  38. I had braces for two years, and am now getting really frustrated because after seeing a dentist for a cleaning, she mentioned that two of my teeth looked weird. Turns out they are 180 degrees backwards. Before braces they were about 90 degrees turned so it looks like my ortho messed up and turned them the wrong way. Is there an actual reason why he decided to turn my teeth backwards or does it sound like a mistake?

    1. Hello,
      Premolars that are severely rotated are sometimes placed backwards when the beginning position makes it hard to de-rotate them. Due to the shape of the tooth, it does not harm the occlusion for a premolar to be rotated 180 degrees. In patients that have premolars erupt backwards, I leave them alone. At times, there are risks in causing bone loss in rotating a severely turned tooth that need not be taken.

  39. Dear Dr.,
    I had my braces for about 4-5 months and they recently put on a “nance” i think. A day after they put them on, the roof of my mouth hurts whenever i bite down on even a soft piece of food. It even hurts whenever i slightly push on it with my tongue. Should i go and tell my orthodontist to fix it or should i just leave it alone?

    1. Hi. I’d give it a week to see if it gets better. If you still have the same symptoms after that time or it gets worse, then go see your orthodontist. Sometimes the acrylic button on the Nance arch is rough and needs polished. They’d remove it, polish it and cement it back.

  40. Hi,
    My granddaughter, age 13, has had braces for about 5 months now. Her orthodontist wants to pull her back bottom molars, one on each side, to be able to pull her lower front teeth back. Is this a common procedure if there is not enough room?? And will that effect her tongue space?? I read that it may effect her breathing also. Would appreciate you professional opinion.
    Thank you,

    1. Hello,
      1st molar extractions are not as common as 1st or 2nd premolar extraction. Usually we select 1st molars if they are heavily restored or we need that much space. A premolar extraction is farther forward and doesn’t create as much space. The other problem with 1st molar extraction is that 3rd molars sometimes do not erupt well into the 2nd molar space. Tongue space and breathing are not effected by extractions and space closure. The length of the mandible stays the same.

  41. My 13 year old son has ADD and Asperger’s syndrome. He got his braces off today and got his Essex retainer. He can’t get his upper retainer off after putting it in. It is causing stress and crying from frustration. Thank you

    1. Hello,

      Patients with long clinical crowns can have a very tight retainer that is difficult to remove. The best way to remove a clear plastic retainer is to pull down on one side only with your index finger and thumb. Try the right or left side. One side should give and then go forward teasing it off the front anterior teeth. Do not try to remove the retainer from both sides with two hands. That usually doesn’t work and is what most patients try.

  42. hi, the last time i went to my dentist was November to make adjustments for my braces. She chained my braces and I haven’t visited her for about 4 months. Will it cause some negative effects? Like TMJ problem? I’m really worried. Please respond quickly. Thank You so much! God bless

    1. Hi, I’d advise that you visit your orthodontist soon. It is not good to have long periods of time without a checkup unless the orthodontist says so. In some cases, teeth can move in adverse positions by not having regular scheduled appointments. Also, in some cases, the braces need to be activated often to keep continued progress with treatment.

  43. Hi,
    if I won´t have any lower 7 (because they have to be taken out soon – they are both broken), can I have braces on really croocked lower teeth? I already have one wishdom tooth and the second one is getting out of gum now, so where would the braces end? On the 6s or on the one wishdom tooth?

    And other question – If I don´t want to get teeth extracted from upper jaw, but I have a 0.9 cm overbite, is there any other solution? Like some kind of expander or whatever (except the surgery)?

    1. Hello, Reduction of the overjet can be accomplished by using rubber bands. Seek an orthodontist consultation and they will develop a good treatment plan for you.

  44. I have a question about my son. He is 7, has special needs. His dentist told us he needs to see an orthodontist, he does not have enough room for his lateral incisors (I believe) to come in. He has his upper front teeth and his canines (I call them eye teeth), I believe he has his adult molars too. The problem is, he can barely tolerate going to the dentist for cleaning, let alone any orthodontic work. He needs nitrous oxide to get a cavity filled, and needed sedation to get a cavity filled and a tooth pulled that was abscessed. Is there a way to create more space other than a palate expander? And do you know if any orthodontists use any kind of sedation? My daughter is in the process of braces, she has an expander and has braces on her top teeth. We are done turning the expander but it is still in for now. So my son knows that she doesn’t like the expander and that it hurt when we tightened it, etc. Thank you.

    1. Hello, A palatal expansion is the best option. If he can’t cooperate at this age, you may have to wait until he is older to go through treatment. Sedation is rarely used in the orthodontic office.

  45. hi im taylor i waned to know if need braces ? i have alot ofspaces between my teeth.when i smile my top teeth verlap my bottom lap and more doi need braces.?!

  46. Hi, i just had my molar band yesterday withmy orthodontist and when im at home i noticed that my tooth turned blue.is it because i gargle ? Because i cant heard that she said to me that i cant gargle because her voice is to slow.what should i do ?thank you.

    1. Hello, the blue hue could be from the color of the molar band adhesive. We do use adhesive that is blue.

  47. Hello, The last time I went to the dentist. I wanted to get braces. Is it possible to get braces before all my baby teeth fall out? I am really eager to get braces. Thank you.

    1. Hello, a lot of patients start orthodontic treatment before all the primary teeth are lost.

  48. Hey, so i had my braces off today and i got my retainers. When i bite down the bottom retainers popped off and i told my orthodontist and she said that the retainers are fitted properly to my teeth and that i should be fine. When i went home i started feeling around my mouth and i felt the bottom retainers not touching my gums from the inside. The bottom retainers touch the bottom front gums but towards the back they don’t touch. Are both things i mentioned normal or do i have to call my orthodontist to make a new impression?

    1. Hello, After braces are removed the swollen gum tissue will reduce in size pulling away from the clear plastic retainers. It is normal for this to occur.

  49. Hi
    I got my braces off yesterday and I have to wear retainers (top and bottom at night only) and on the bottom one there’s a gap at the back between the retainer and my tooth and its much easier to pop off than the other side. Is this something i should call my orthodontist for because i dont want my teeth to shift?

    1. Hi, I’d say you should call and ask your orthodontist. I believe it will be ok though.

    1. Hello, I’d would suggest you get your teeth cleaned. Then ask your dentist if using whitening strips would reduce the yellow of your teeth.

  50. hi doctor.
    I am now 4 months in top braces only as my orthodontist told me that i don’t need bottom one. I have a about 3 mm overjet and a 2mm midline off.
    My main question is that how can my overjet be corrected with only my top braces on?

    1. Hello,

      It is possible to shift the midline by placing bends in the wire if the teeth are already tipped. If not, a midline is shifted by using anterior diagonal elastic wear from bottom braces to the top.
      In regards to the overjet, torque can be placed into the wire to up-right the incisors to reduce the overjet. Again, if that can’t be done, elastics are worn from lower molar brackets to upper anterior brackets to shift the teeth. Ask your orthodontist their treatment plan to correct these items. BTW, a 3 mm overjet is within normal limits.

  51. Hi, I just got my braces off last Thursday, about 5 days ago. I’ve had them since September of 2012. I got my retainer on the 11th. One thing my ortho said was that I had slight gingivitis (my gums were swollen and having small teeth meant brackets were closer to my gum, combined with the power chains and other metal wires made it harder for me to adequately floss). My dentists said that if I brush after every meal and floss every night, swelling should go down. But I haven’t seen anything. In fact, everytime I remove my retainers (Essix), my gums feel slimey and have a white film, even after only four hours of wear. I brush my teeth before putting my retainers on, only drink water with them in and wash them constantly after I remove them so it’s making me feel like it might be the bacteria from gingivitis flaring up?? Additionally,when I remove my retainers in the morning after sleeping, I have brown spit like stuff in the retainers on my back teeth. How do I make that stop happening? Can the retainers make it harder for my gums to get better? Should I ask my orthodontist if I should get the other retainer that doesn’t completely cover my teeth and gums? I’m just really worried my gums will stay swollen and I’ll get periodontis or gum regression.

    1. Hello, you are doing the right things, brushing and flossing. Continue. Your swollen gums will go down in size. The retainers do not need to be remade. They are not making the gum tissue worse. Once your gum tissues have returned to normal, your orthodontist may make you new retainers at that time. You may want to rinse with a mouth wash like Crest Pro Health mouthwash.

  52. hello Dr.thompson..
    my upper teeth are slightly shifted to the left side of my face.. whereas my lower teeth are positioned at the middline… but what is more worse is that my whole face is shifted also.. i have an asymmetrical facial appearance..so i think that’s a skeletal asymmetry.. will braces solve my problem? or should i have a surgery done?

    1. Hi,

      Braces will only move the midlines of the teeth. You’ll have to talk with a plastic surgeon about the asymmetries of your face. Almost every patient has asymmetries that have to be taken into consideration to get a pleasing result with orthodontic treatment. Most patients do not need plastic surgery unless the asymmetry is severe and the patient wants it fixed.

  53. Hello,
    I have a question,
    I got braces due to small gap on my front two teeth and a over bite lower teeth were a little crowded. In two month theRe going to take them off, but I notice when I floss between my two front teeth I get a small space it take about 2 day for it to close completely I went to the dentist yesterday and told them and they put double chain bands which this morning i flossed and still got a small space? Is that normal?

    1. Hi,
      Sometimes spaces are hard to close due to the gum tissue bunching up and not remodeling quickly as we’d like. It may take time to close. Once the space is closed, it is best to keep the braces on for awhile before removing them because the space could open back up. You want natural forces to be at a minimum, like pinched gum tissue pushing the teeth back apart. That is why braces are used over long periods of time. It diminishes relapse.

      Finally, you may have a high frenum attachment between your central incisors that is pushing the space open or keeping it from closing. If that is the case, ask your orthodontist if you need a frenectomy from a periodontist to reposition the frenum.

      1. I wonder why my orthodontist never have mentioned that to me been having the braces for about 1 year and 2 months now and she think they are ready to come off in June? Would it matter when I do the frenectomy? Meaning while I have the braces? Or when there off?

        1. If a frenectomy is indicated, I’d suggest having it done before braces are removed so that the space can be closed.

    1. Hi. Read my small article titled “How to Become an Orthodontist”. Any other questions not addressed, email me.

  54. hello i have an open bite and i don’t know what to do as I’ve had it for years and want to get it sorted (i am 15) its not the nicest and its from thumb sucking and it’s a habit would i need braces or a surgery because my bottom teeth are more forward then the top teeth

    1. Hello. Chances are your open bite can be corrected without surgery because it was created by the thumb habit. In the absence pf a thumb habit, a patient with an open bite is usually due to a skeletal growth pattern or a tongue thrust that causes the open bite. In some cases, extraction are performed and the spaces are closed to correct an anterior open bite. Consult with an orthodontic specialist for an in-depth evaluation.

  55. Hi,
    I want to ask you – if my orthodontist says, that she wants to pull two of my healthy teeth and I don´t want to, can I just say to her, that I would rather have some expander? I am almost 18, will it work for me the same way? Plus right now 3 of my wisdom teeth are erupting – can this be some kind of trouble when I want to have braces on ASAP?
    Thank you for your answer 🙂

    1. Hello,
      Your wisdom teeth, if they don’t have enough room, could be removed, along with the two other teeth, before braces are place. Your orthodontist has determined that space creation is best with extractions. As a patient matures, the mid palatal suture closes and a rapid palatal expander will not work as well. I’d comply with your orthodontist’s treatment plan. Your occlusion. after the braces are removed. will be more stable with the extractions.

  56. hello im 21 year old male.
    ever since i had my 1st premolar exacted i have had a lisp, whenever i speak my tongue moves slightly off centre into the gap where the tooth was do you think that if i get the tooth put back in it will fix my lisp and also what would be the best course of treatment to have ? implant ,bridge etc. any help appreciated

    1. Hello. I think getting the space filled with a false tooth will help get rid of your lisp. As far as whether to use a bridge or an implant, most patients like the implant since you do not have to reduce the adjacent teeth down in size. The implant is placed, then later the post and crown. There are other factors that need to be considered before deciding which course of action is best. Consult with your family dentist.

  57. Hello I’m getting my braces off in about a week and the next day i have a dentist appointment because i have to get my peg laterals built up.Do you know how long i will have to wait before i can get them built up after getting my braces off? Thank you

    1. Hi, Usually, to create stability in the occlusion, peg laterals are built up soon after braces are removed. We don’t want the spaces to close that have been created around the lateral incisors.

  58. Hi Dr. Thompson, I just had a quick question about my hawley retainer. The wire is too high its almost touching my gums is there any way I can fix it at home? If so, how? I can’t get to my orthodontist for a few weeks as I’m on vacation. Thanks for the help.

    1. Hi, take your upper hawley retainer and hold it in your hands. Grab the middle of the labial bow, that’s the front wire, and lightly bend it down. Put the retainer in your mouth and see where the labial bow falls. If it is still close to your gums, repeat. You just want to get the wire away from your gum tissue enough until you are seen by your orthodontist.

  59. Hi Dr. Thompson,
    I went to see see my orthodontist today, and they took impression of my teeth my braces will be coming off soon, but there is a still a small little space on my front teeth, the dr says it should close with the retainer? Is that correct?
    Also what retainer would you recommend?

    Thank you

    1. Hi. Small spaces can be closed during retention. For space closure, I’d recommend a hawley retainer.

  60. Hello. I recently had braces put on and I was wondering what does the different color dots mean on the brackets like green or red. Are there like weights or something on them? Thanks!!

    1. Hello. The color dots identify which brackets are left, right, upper and lower. There is a specific bracket made for each tooth. Since they look about the same, the color dots help us to identify the bracket. Also, every orthodontic assistant’s worse fear is knocking over the bracket box. After sterilization, the color dots allow the assistant to put them back in their proper bin. Over a short period of time the color dots will come off.

  61. Hi I had impacted canines and got oral surgery on them about 8 months ago. My last tooth finally grew in and once they put a real bracket on it, it came down perfectly straight and in line with the others. So now that all my teeth are down and straight, would it be reasonable to ask for chains now to close my gaps quickly? Or is there another way? I don’t have another appointment for 2 months but what else would u have to wait for if all my teeth are down and straight because I really don’t want these gaps for a long time. Thanks

    1. Hello. Chances are your orthodontist will have to change the wire a couple of times to a heavier wire so that when space closure occurs, the teeth will not tip. Also, sometimes an orthodontist has to set up an anchor unit to move the teeth and close spaces. This procedure can take time.

  62. Hi,

    I currently have six months smile braces and am into my 4th month. Everything is moving great but last week the very back metal bracket on the top left back molar fell off.
    I’ve managed to speak to my orthodontist receptionist who said this is fine and the teeth will still continue to move. But I was just looking for some reassurance that this ok as I don’t want it to hinder my progress? My next appointment to get it tightened isn’t for another 3 weeks.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  63. Hello.

    My oldest son had an expose and bond done for a palatal tooth 4 1/2 years ago. The tooth has still not erupted. His braces are off, but they left brackets on to continue to attempt to pull the palatal tooth down with the chain. He just finished his sophomore year of college and is only able to continue with treatment in the summer and on school holidays. He recently had a tooth cleaning and the dentist is extremely concerned that the palatal tooth has not erupted after so long. Meanwhile, the orthodontist does not seem concerned at all. Who is right? And what are our options at this point for getting that tooth to erupt? Is it harmful to leave it in the palate?

    1. Hi,

      After that length of time, I’d say the tooth is probably ankylosed and will never erupt. If it is ankylosed, the only option is to have the tooth removed.

  64. Hello Doctor,
    I am 20 years old. My lower right canine is congenitally missing, and there is wide space between lower two Incisors as it has drifted away to left side.
    Would braces help??

    1. Hi,
      We would use braces to collect the space into the canine (cuspid) area so that a bridge or implant could be placed. This would stabilize your occlusion. Obtain a consult with a local orthodontist.

  65. Hi, my son just turned 13 and still has 8 baby molars. The orthodontist wants to pull them because my son is “behind schedule” on losing them. What would you recommend? Does this sound like it is merely to conform to some schedule, or does it actually cause problems to still have his baby molars at this age?

    1. Hello. Good question. The graph of the eruption of permanent teeth is a bell shaped curve. Some patients teeth erupt before the average, some on the average and some later than the average. I usually let the primary teeth exfoliate naturally. I do not remove primary teeth because they are “behind schedule”.

      In some cases, a primary tooth may need to be extracted to help the permanent tooth to erupt since it is not resorbing the primary root well. Also, an ankylosed primary tooth will need to be removed since it causes a deep bite and prohibits permanent tooth eruption.

      This does not mean that you need to wait to start treatment for all primary teeth to be exfoliated. In many cases, treatment is indicated in the mixed dentition.

  66. I used to be an orthodontic assistant 16 years ago, but gave it up to raise my 4 wonderful babies. Now that my oldest just got braces put on, I see some of the things/processes are still the same, but also there are some interesting advances, such as brackets custom placed in a tray according to your impressions so that the assistant can put the braces on instead of the orthodontist. Very cool. I was curious if you could tell me if orthodontists no longer use wire ties to engage rotations more aggressively? When my son first got his braces on, they didn’t fully engage the rotation which I thought was maybe to eliminate initial discomfort, but we have had 2 appointments since then and the most aggressive thing they have done is a figure 8 elastic tie, which is still not fully turning that tooth. Also, when I was working, we would see patients every 4-5wks, now with my son it’s every 8-10 weeks. Seems awfully long between appointments. Is that a recent change across the board, or just our particular orthodontist? Thank you so much for your time!

    1. Hi.
      I still use wire ties to obtain full bracket slot engagement to rotate teeth if needed. Instead of wire ties though, I often use open coil springs to rotate and create space at the same time.

      As far as length between appointments, appointments can be farther apart if certain wires are used, like nickle titanium. I see my patients about every 4-5 weeks which I believe is more the norm.

  67. Hello,
    I have an wisdom teeth in July 2012 on my left jaw. Orthodontist removed it, now recently from past one week the teeth ahead of the wisdom teeth’s place is tilting and its hurting my tongue. When ever I move my tongue its hurting my tongue on the side and I am not comfortable. Can you please suggest any solution?

    1. Hi, I would suggest you see your family dentist. Their maybe a bone spicule working it’s way out of the gum tissue and is rubbing your tongue. If so, it can be removed.

  68. Hi

    I’ve always had a gap in between my two front teeth, and over the course of having my braces, it’s gotten wider.
    Ever since my orthodontist put a power chain on my four front teeth, the gum in between my two front teeth has been sore, tender and puffy. It had calmed down a couple of weeks before I got my new power chain on, but since then it’s been extremely painful and puffy.
    The gap has now completely closed, but my gum is still tender and sore. Is there anything I can do about it?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello,

      As space is closed between the central incisors it pinches the gum tissue called the incisive papilla. Since the space is closed, your symptoms should subside. Make sure you floss the area well because plaque can cause gingivitis keeping the incisive papilla sensitive.

  69. Hey Dr. I am 13 years old and I wanted to know the chances of getting braces if I have a 4 cm overbite. I know its weird but I kind of want braces. Thanks

    1. Hi,

      A 4 cm overbite is an good indication that you need braces. I’d start soon because of your age. It’s easier to correct an overbite at a young age than as an adult.

    1. Hi, yes an orthodontist will sometimes remove the incisal edges of the anterior teeth to make them even.

  70. I had a expander glued it it’s been 7 months it’s been tied up so I don’t turn it anymore and it just started hurting when I bite down I never had a problem with that is it ready to come off or something I’m confused ? It hurts badly

    1. Hello, if an RPE all of a sudden starts hurting, it is either loose or there is food stuck around the bands or wires. Have your orthodontist look at it soon.

  71. Hi. I finished my orthodontic treatment and I now have to wear a clear (Essix) retainer for the next three months. However, since this is the summer, there will be some events where I will not be able to wear the retainer, for example a wedding which would last an entire evening.
    For how long is it generally okay to leave the retainer out? Will my teeth start to shift after, say, 6 hours?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hello, I’d say it would be ok to go without a retainer for a couple of hours. The teeth try to move the most right after braces are removed. Wear your retainer as much as possible.

  72. Dear Dr
    Is it possible to treat anterior cross bite with Fixed appliance, removable appliance with z spring or palatal expansion with screw eg hyrax or inclined bite plane . if I had to choose one that’s absolutely wrong . what would it be . note this question didn’t specify etilogy of crossbite

    1. Hi, I have used all that you have mentioned to correct an anterior crossbite. None of them are wrong. Each are used depending on many factors. Some are more efficient than others.

  73. Hi Sir
    I am Feeling Popping Sound in my Jaws for 3 Days. No Pain No injury. Why it is so? I am Scared by these sounds.

    1. Hi, The popping sounds indicates the beginnings of TMJ dysfuncion. TMJ dysfunction could be from clenching or grinding your teeth. Or, you could be over working the joint by chewing gum all the time. Try to be gentle with the joint and do not make it pop all the time. Talk with your family dentist about your TMJ popping at your next visit.

  74. My orthodontist removed my spacer and placed in the bands on the last teeth. Now he tells me to come in a month for the next appointment. I did not even got the braces just the bands. My sister on the other hand got her top braces the same day. Why did he tell me to come in a month?

    1. Hello. Every orthodontists has different ideas of what braces or bands are placed first. Your orthodontist may want the molar bands placed first to help align the brackets anterior to it. Sometimes teeth are by-passed due to crowding. Sometimes just the upper or the lower braces are placed. There is no set normal procedure but you could phone and ask what the reasons are. I wouldn’t worry about it. You will eventually have a full set.

  75. Hi,
    One of my molar bracket fell off, it was glued back on but then came lose again with 24 hours. I hadn’t eaten anything to break it.
    I just had a fixed again (three days ago) , I noticed it felt slightly loose and it wobbled a little bit the day after it had been fixed. I was just cleaning my teeth and it fell off completely.
    I’m really confused as to why it keeps falling off, it’s always the same tooth (upper left) and I’ve had nothing to eat which could cause it to fall off.
    I brush my teeth and in the morning and at night and I use mouth wash. I also wear elastic which go from the molars at the bottom to a hook on my top front teeth.
    Do you have any explanation as to why this keeps happening?

    1. Hi, sometimes the quality of the enamel is weak and the adhesive can’t attach well or your malocclusion hits the bracket and knocks it off. When a patient of mine has this problem, I change from a bonded bracket to a cemented band. The bands are more durable and do not become loose easily.

  76. I have a bottom palate expander and the edges of it is really hurting my gums on one side. i can’t even seem to fix wax there because there’s no space. How can I stop the pain from hurting my lower gums.

    1. Hello, try to floss underneath it. If your pain doesn’t go away, you may need an adjustment by your orthodontist.

  77. My orthodontist scheduled me to take my braces off but my teeth need crowns. He never measured me for retainers either. Will he give me the crowns when he takes the braces off my teeth? When will he give me my retainers?

    1. Hi. The normal sequence would be to receive retainers first, after your braces are removed then the crowns placed later.

  78. Hello Dr. Thompson,
    Today I got my normal check-up at the orthodontist. I am 15/24 months into treatment and just got rubber bands that connecting from top to bottom. I was wondering why some people wear their rubber bands while eating while some don’t. Does it matter? Is it specific per case?

    1. Hi, most orthodontists have the patient remove their elastics when they eat a meal. It’s neither here or there if you wear them while chewing. I would say it would be harder to chew your food with them in especially with some elastics that go across the front.

  79. After my recent orthodontist appointment, I developed an open bite. The rubber bands I’ve been wearing are for an over bite so should I keep on wearing them that way or change it to the triangle formation?

    1. Hi Megan, you’ll have to call and ask your orthodontist about changing the way you should wear your elastics.

  80. I’ve had braces for two years. I’m 5 weeks away from getting them removed. My brackets were recently left without a wire at my last visit. Is there any reason for that?

    1. Hi John,

      That is a little unusual. I’d call the office and ask if they meant to not place an arch wire.

  81. my had had braces done it took 2 yearswith them on .she needed a tooth implant but took to long and the implant area collapsed does she have to go back to ortho for another 2 years

    1. Hello,

      It depends on how much space needs to be created for the implant. Sometimes a retainer can open the space or active aligners instead of using braces. However, if the space has closed a lot, then braces will be needed.

  82. Hi,
    I have to get my molars number 18 and 31 extracted, but I already have 32 and 17 (wisdom teeth) errupted – so my question is – can I have braces that would close the space that will be left after the extraction of lower 7s? And how long after extractions would be the best time to go to the Orthodontist for the first time?

    Thank you very much for your answers

    1. Hello, In some cases the 3rd molars can be moved into the 2nd molar positions. You need to talk with an orthodontist before you have any teeth extracted.

  83. thank you dr Thompson for getting back to me .one last question and I promise I will not bother you again.the surgeon did say it shrunk because it was exactly a year from last ortho visit to going to surgeon .I am upset of the five thousand dollars I wasted for her braces which now we must go back ..my biggest question to you is ..could she possibly just need a 6 month visit to the ortho or something shorter than 2 years is that a possibility….thank you for taking time to read this .many doctors want to be paid on line for answering questions .you must have tremendous care for people to do this I applaud you ..thank you …

  84. I had braces a few years ago but unfortunately neglected to wear my retainers. I recently found them and would like to begin wearing them again. They don’t fit perfectly and are quite sore but I presume that this is to be expected and I can begin to wear them again?
    Also, I remember what originally put my off wearing them! The front of my bottom retainer digs into my gums very badly, I had such trouble with it I couldn’t sleep with discomfort! Is there anything I can do myself to remedy this? I read online about shaving them down? I know I should go back to my orthodontist but I don’t have the money right now, and I don’t know when I will! Any advice?

    1. Hi, It would be best for your orthodontist or family dentist to adjust your retainer so it won’t dig into your gum tissue. I would not attempt any repairs at home. You may make the retainer weak or activate the wire in an incorrect way.

  85. Roughly 4-5 months ago my fixed retainer, bonded to my lower four incisors, came loose while eating an apple. Ever since it was repaired (by a military dentist), my lower left canine has been rotating outward (counter clockwise as viewed from above). This rotation is pushing the adjacent mandibular lateral incisor slightly outward. Besides the rotated canine and pushed out incisor, I’ve developed a notch in the top mandibular lateral incisor since this tooth now makes contact with its matching mandibular lateral incisor when I close my jaw. What is the best course of action to get the lower canine and incisor moved back into proper alignment?

    1. Hi, I’d probably suggest having the lingual fixed retainer removed and use a spring retainer to reset the teeth. Once the active spring retainer has done its job then have a fixed lingual retainer placed from lower cuspid to cuspid.

  86. Hi Doctor I am scheduled to have my braces removed on August 13, but I noticed one of my right front tooth comes out a little more than the left one. Is this because of the power chains? Can this be fixed before I get my braces removed?

    1. Hello,

      Yes, a power chain can cause teeth to overlap. I’d call your orthodontist so it can be fixed before your braces are removed.

  87. I am fitted with upper and lower jaw 6 month smile braces, why do the elastic bands turn orange and makes my teeth look awful, I floss, clean and use dental mouth wash

    1. Hello,
      You may want to use elastic ties that are not clear. Clear elastic ties absorb food stain easier than any other color or you could avoid certain foods like ketchup or colored sodas. They tend to discolor the clear elastics yellow or orange.

  88. Hello. I have a question about the hooks on brackets. My friend has braces and doesn’t know if she’s getting rubber bands. I looked in her mouth and there wasn’t even hooks on any of her brackets. Do you think she will be getting elastics? And are the brackets made with the hooks on them or do the hooks attach later on? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi, Most orthodontists will order hooks on certain brackets, like the cuspids and molars. However, I imagine there are some orthodontists who will use brackets without hooks. It’s not a big deal, just personal preference. The hooks can be placed on the wire or on the bracket itself when elastics are needed to be used.

  89. Hi.
    I was wanting to know what is the time frame on a rapid palatal expander? What is the most time length that it can be worn safely by a child?


    1. Hello,

      A rapid palatal expander can be safely worn in the mouth for many months with routine check-ups. For my patients, they wear the expander 2 to 3 months after the last time the expansion screw is turned. This allows the mid palatal suture to completely heal lessening the chance of palatal width loss.

  90. I just got my braces today and they’re going to fix my overbite and now there telling me that they need to pull out 2 teeth …. How long will it take till the teeth come together?..the teeth that need to be pulled relatively close to the the side and will show the missing tooth very noticeable …I really don’t want that so am I able to get them off?

    1. Hello,
      It usually takes a year to close premolar extraction spaces completely. If you are legal age, you can discontinue treatment at anytime. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about the spaces and go through with treatment. At the end of treatment, you will have a beautiful smile.

  91. I’ve had my retainers (plastic Essex) for almost a year now. I didn’t wear my retainers for 3/4 days as I couldn’t find them. I managed to find them unharmed and started to wear them. I wear them currently every night but the upper retainer is still tight and sometimes hard to remove however the bottom retainer is easy to remove with no issues. Also, my front two incisor teeth feel wobbly and they do move a bit when I use my fingers.

    Should I continue wearing them every night or wear them throughout the whole day?

    1. Hello,
      I’d wear them full time. You will receive the maximum movement from full time wear over many months. If your teeth go back into good positions, wear them when you sleep to maintain the positions. You need to consult with your orthodontist after you have worn them awhile. Adjustments to your teeth or retainer may be needed.

  92. I just completed my 2 years of braces now I need an implant of a front tooth will the oral surgeon who cracks the bone to fit the tooth in be the same one who will put tooth in or must I go to my dentist for that .

    1. Hello, A family dentist, an oral surgeon or periodontist can place the implant. Your family dentist finishes the restoration by placing the post and crown.

  93. Hi.
    My son is 17 year old. He had a root resorption in tooth no 36 and our dentist extracted thsi tooth. His wisdom tooth is alreay grown. we have seen some orthodontists and they have all different ideas how to fix this problem. Most of them recommended to put implant but one of them suggested to move both the wisdom tooth and the other tooth beside it to fill the gap. I would be thankful if you let me know if moving these two teeth forward to fill the extracted tooth gapis a good idea. Thanks a lot for your advise.

    1. Hello,
      I would not attempt to protract the wisdom tooth into no 36 position (mandibular left 1st molar). I’d have an implant placed. IMHO, the movement of the 2nd molar and 3rd molar mesial into 1st molar position will skew the arch form and cause an unwanted overjet and Class II relationship on the left side. It is a difficult treatment plan. The simplest and easiest, is the implant.

  94. My daughter is getting braces but the next day she leaves to Puerto Rico for two weeks will these braces ruin her vacation?

    1. Hello,

      Her teeth will be sore for about 4 to 7 days. The worst day is the day after braces are placed. It will get better everyday. She will just need to modify her diet and eat soft foods. In my opinion, her trip will keep her mind off of her braces.

  95. Hi Dr. Thompson
    I just found out that breathing through mouth will cause the face to change. I’m 17 and now I’m starting to breath through my nose. Is there a chance that I could stop the changes of my face? When does the jaw stops growing??

    1. Hi,
      Mouth breathing only effects the growth of the jaws in a patient who starts breathing through the mouth at a young age. If you have breathed through your mouth the most of your life, then changes in jaw growth have already occurred. Your maxilla will be narrow and you will have an anterior open bite. Orthodontic treatment will correct the bone positions. If you have a hard time breathing through your nose, see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. Surgery may be indicated to allow proper breathing through the nose.

  96. hi i can’t spin my rapid expander my mom says it have way closed we don’t know how to fix it

    1. Hi, a rapid palatal expander’s screw may not be completely turned therefore not exposing the new hole for the next turn. Look for the exposed hole in the middle or back of the screw. Turn it all the way to the back, then the new hole will be exposed for your new turn.

  97. Hi Dr. Thompson

    I am just about to go into my 3rd year of wearing my fixed braces and I can see no end in sight as there is a huge problem with my alignment in that it is way off centre. My orthodontist doesn’t seem to see the issue and insists there is only one tooth in need of moving. It is causing me untold amounts of stress and I have spoken about it 3 times now. I am a private patient and have paid a lot of money to have perfect teeth.

    My question/plea is, what can I say to her to get her to listen and do something drastic, to make it look like my teeth aren’t going to to slowly jump out the right side of my face? Is there anything specific I could say to her?

    Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      It looks like your teeth on your right side need to be moved lingual by placing a bend in the wire to cause lingual crown torque. Also, the arch form could be changed to a more flatten curve and brought lingual. I’d also suggest having enameloplasty on your right central incisor’s incisal edge for better aesthetics. Having stated this, upper tooth movement will be limited by the position of lower teeth and the occlusion keeping ideal movements from occurring.

  98. Hi I have just had my last baby tooth extracted because the adult tooth was growing behind it. I have been referred to an Orthodontist but the dentist has only to told me that I might be getting braces. Is there a chance that my adult tooth will grow into the baby tooth’s place now that its gone without the braces (it is already roughly 1/4 grown)?

    1. Hello, if there is enough room for the permanent tooth, it should erupt into the primary tooth’s position. Permanent teeth erupt until they are stopped by crowding of adjacent teeth or the opposite occlusion.

  99. Hi, doctor!
    I have many problems about my chin. My teeth had space in my upper chin and I had just 12 teeth, and in the lower chin I had 14 teeth which are so small and placed very dense. In order to fix the spaces I’m having braces just in the upper chin for about 13 months. The spaced are fixed, but now I have a underbite problem and my lower chin teeth become crooked, my lower chin is slant. Now doctor put just 2 brackets on 2 teeth (4th teeth on the right and left) and gave me elastic bonds to tie these teeth to my upper chin. My teeth hurt so badly and I’m afraid that not getting whole brackets in my lower chin can make it worse. What do you think? Thank you.

    1. Hello, it is best to have full control of all upper and lower teeth with braces placed on each tooth. That gives you the highest chance for obtaining a proper occlusion.

  100. is it ok to tie a rubber band around the bottom row of my teeth to get rid of the gap at the bottom of my teeth?

  101. Dear Dr Thompson,
    My two middle teeth at the bottom have always been stunted and badly ridged horizontally, and I was told this happened because of medicine I was given as a child (I was hospitalised with a kidney infection and viral pneumonia aged 4, but made a complete recovery). I am now nearly 50, and although I have no fillings and very good teeth, these two are now very worn and short. Can your corroborate this story – I have never had to confirmed by a dentist – and advise me what to do about it? Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      Ameloblasts are the cells that form the tooth’s enamel, a process called amelogenesis, and they are very sensitive to physiological changes during enamel formation. Illnesses can cause enamel defects as you have described. Depending on the amount of tooth damage, you may just need a composite resin filling, a crown or a post and crown to obtain proper aesthetics, contours and strength. Consult with your family dentist about possible treatment.

  102. Hi Dr.Thomson,

    I have a big gap between my two front teeth.I am always afraid to smile.I really don’t like it .Can u provide me with tooth bands or give me an appointment to see u.Can u provide me with braces or bondings plsese . I really don’t like my teeth.I don’t feel comfortable with my gAp please help me

    thank you for your help

    1. Hi, take over the counter pain meds of your choice following package directions for dosage and schedule. Until the soreness subsides, you will have to go to a soft diet. The pain usually lasts 3 to 5 days.

  103. Hi Doctor

    My daughter has had braces on for 5 1/2 years. We are close to the finish line, but there always seems to be one more thing that needs to be corrected. Recently she just had a frenectomy. That worked, but now there is a space between her upper right teeth, small space, but not perfect. My poor kid just wants them off. The doctor says the space is due to tongue thrusting, which my daughter doesn’t believe she does. If I forced the doctor to take them off, what are the odds of her teeth moving more? And how badly discolored will her teeth be once she gets them removed? Do I force them off….? 5 1/2 years is a long time

    1. Hi,

      There is a point where there is a marginal improvement in the occlusion with longer spans of time. At that point, in my opinion, braces can be removed. It would be better to have both you and the orthodontist agree to take the braces off. The retention phase is very important and your daughter needs follow up visits by your orthodontist. If you force the orthodontist to remove the braces, they may stop seeing your daughter. Sometimes a waiver or notice can be signed by the parent stating they understand treatment was stopped short and was not completed to the goals of your orthodontist. I believe in your daughter’s case, her chance of tooth relapse in minimal.

  104. Hi Doctor,
    I had fixed braces removed over 3 years ago and was given a vacuum formed (Essix) retainer. Due to suffering from painful ulcers over the past year, I have not been wearing the retainers as regularly as I had previously and my lower front teeth have moved slightly. My lower retainer broke in half a few days ago, but I can still wear it and can feel some movement. Would this move my teeth back to their original post-braces position or will it cause harm?

    1. Hi,

      You need to wear your broken retainer full time to shift the teeth back to post braces position. You then need to see your orthodontist for either a fixed lingual wire retainer or a new essix retainer.

  105. Hi, I got my braces off about a few weeks ago and i was given two removable clear retainers, and a wire retainer for the top to wear at night (along with my clear bottom retainer). i’m supposed to wear them 24/7. i cant wear both of my clear retainers during the day because it causes my jaw not to close all the way and therefore causes me jaw pain. so during the day i only wear my top clear retainer, and then at night i wear the wire top retainer and clear bottom retainer (even though that causes my jaw discomfort, i can deal with it because i’d be asleep.) is it fine to keep going like this? the main point of a retainer is to hold the teeth in place, and i’ve still been able to get my retainers in no problem. not sure what to do, really don’t want a permanent retainer.

    1. Hello,
      Your retainers should not cause jaw pain. There may be some distortion in your clear retainers or an adjustment needs to be made. Call your orthodontist for an appointment.

  106. Hi, i have had braces for about 1 year now and Iv been in elastics since February. Iv noticed that one side of my teeth touches and the other side doesn’t and the right side sticks out a alot compared the left side it’s becoming annoying seems like nothing is happening on the right side?

    1. Hello, show your orthodontist what you are seeing. They may have you wear 2x elastics on the right side and 1x elastics on the left.

  107. hi, i used to get rubbers to hold the wire in the bracket but recently my dentist started using little wires that would go around the bracket and then she would twist the ends together until there was enough forze to hold things together pretty much as same with the rubbers but with wires, she says using this method will put more torque and therefore i would see faster results. im wondering if this is right or if i should go back to using rubbers?

    1. Hello,
      What you are describing is wire ties and they are better in certain situations that elastic ties. Your orthodontist needs to use them to move your teeth better.

  108. Hi, I just got my braces off, which I had for 4 long and painful years for overcrowding, and found that I have an overjet that wasn’t a concern before. I don’t know how this happened, and my orthodontist (who is a resident student at NYU) says it looks fine. However, I still feel insecure about my clearly protruding teeth, which friends and family members have all noted almost immediately. Is there a treatment plan that I could ask about? Also how did this happen? If I do not wear my retainer (which is clear plastic that almost resembles Invisalign), will my teeth return to their naturally crowded, but at least not slanted, position? I would be willing to surgically remove premolars for a solution to this unsightly problem. I had braces for cosmetic reasons, but it would appear they did more harm than good. Thanks so much.

    1. Hello, talk to your orthodontist about the protrusion. They may elect to change the treatment plan and remove premolars to correct the protrusion.

  109. Hi Dr Thompson, I had my braces for the second time from a different orthodontist after 7 years. They plan to correct my dropping molar on the left upper second molar. The plan is to use TADS to pull it up. Before they put it my braces they did a panoramic 3D scan on my teeth, head and neck. They didn’t do any mold impression prior to placing the braces? They said that the 3D scan is their impression. It’s my first time hearing that mold impression is not needed prior to braces. Is this ok or right doctor?
    I would appreciate your answer to my inquiry.

    1. Hi, 3d digital dental models are slowly becoming common in the orthodontic office. There are companies who are making scanners that scan the upper and lower teeth (eg iTero) which eliminates impressions. Dental labs are slowly moving to using digital dental models to make dental appliances. Digital model scans eliminates the goopy impression and can be stored indefinitely. Currently, Invisalign accepts digital scans for their aligners which eliminates the PVS impression. So in my opinion, 3D dental scans of the mouth will become very common in the dental office and eventually will become the norm. Good question.

  110. Hello, I am Maddie and I got braces just over 4 or 5 years ago. I have had my braces off now for about 2 years. Since my braces have been off, I’ve worn my retainer everyday and I’ve never had a problem with my teeth until recently. I used this teeth whitening kit and totally left it on for a bit too long. (Not to forget this was 2 weeks ago), and ever since my gums have had a sensitivity and it may have triggered a nerve in my gums which has caused my two front teeth to part. I still wear my retainer ((I actually haven’t taken it off at all since I’ve had the accident) besides to eat)). I don’t know how to get my teeth back together, any tips?

    1. Hi, I’d say, if you wear your retainer full time, the space should close back up. If it does not, see your orthodontist. He/she may have to make a different appliance to close the space then bond a wire on the back side of the central incisors to keep the space closed.

  111. I am 48 years old and I got my braces couple of months ago. After 7-8 weeks I fill like 2 crowns are loose. One is not more than 4 month old but the other one is several years old. What do you recommend? Can I continue wearing braces or I should interrupt and go fix those crowns first?

    1. Hello,
      You need to have your orthodontist determine if the crowns are loose. If they are, the orthodontist will remove the bands attached to the crowns. Then, your family dentist can recement the crowns back into place. Finally your orthodontist will reband your crowns and you can continue your orthodontic treatment.

  112. Hello

    I’ve been wearing elastics to reduce my 4mm overjet that was once 13mm. I’ve been wearing them as I should be, but I think the overjet has been over corrected, as when I wear the bands, my top and bottom teeth meet. When they’re off to brush my teeth, my bottom teeth are just behind my top ones, and I’m not sure that’s an ideal bite. I’ve heard that some orthodontists purposely over correct over jets so they don’t move back as much, but I’m not sure what to do. Should I just keep wearing my elastics as normal?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi,
      You are doing a good job with your elastic wear. A slight overjet is a goal for a proper occlusion. I’d call your orthodontist and ask them if its ok to reduce the amount of time you are wearing your elastics or stop them all together.

  113. Hello,
    My orthodontic specialist asked me to buy a case of bracket and he told me to get an MBT bracket not Roth, so how can I differentiate between MBT and Roth Brackets from the outer shape as some traders here are cheating and give us Roth instead of MBT.

    thanks in advance

    1. Hi,
      You can’t tell the difference in the prescription of the brackets with the eye. Most orthodontists do not ask a patient to purchase a set of brackets. Most orthodontists have the brackets that they like to work with in stock at their practice. You should just ask your orthodontist to purchase the brackets for you. By the way, an interesting article states that treatment results will not differ by using MBT vs Roth prescriptions. View the European Journal of Orthodontics article here

  114. I have had braces since July 2nd, 2013. I got an upper canine baby tooth pulled on the left side of my mouth and a bracket and gold chain attached. My orthodontist had threaded my chain for a while, and I went back two days ago, and they did an overlaying wire, and had a wire go through my chain. My tooth is literally so close to peaking out of my gums. It has been five months. How long will it take for it to come down if it is right there at the jaw? My teeth generally do come down slowly, as I am sixteen, and I have an impacted canine. I just wanted to see how much longer it would take, as when it comes down, I can get my braces off, just in time for senior year, hopefully. Also, on another note, I was eating a hard pretzel and accidentally bit down right where the tooth is under my gums and was wondering if that damaged it. I didn’t mean to and it stings a little, so is it okay?

    1. Hello,
      It is good that your cuspid is just underneath your gum tissue. Your orthodontist, a periodontist or an oral surgeon could remove that gum tissue and help expose the crown of the tooth. This would allow better movement of the cuspid. Palatal gum tissue is very tough and a tooth has a hard time erupting through it. As to your second question, you did no harm to the cuspid, you just made your gum tissue sore. It usually takes a full year to expose an impacted cuspid.

  115. Hi,
    I had just gotten by braces tightened for the first time on Wednesday, and it is not Friday, I had gotten a bottom coil taken off and my bottom teeth are still sore. Is that normal? and Is there anything i can do besides taking medicine to stop the hurting? I can barley eat.

    1. Hello,
      Depending on what is being done, your teeth can be sore from 3 to 7 days. Eat soft foods and take OTC meds for pain. What you are going through sounds normal. If your discomfort keeps you from being able to sleep, then call your orthodontist. They may want to lessen the pressure.

  116. Hey, so i took off my braces and then i lost my retainer, my teeth have moved and now they look ugly so i was wondering if making a new retainer would work or do i have to start from the beginning and get a new braces ? Thank you.

    1. Hello,
      It depends on how far your teeth have moved. It is possible that you may only need a retainer, but you won’t know until you see your orthodontist. After an examination, they will know what needs to be done.

  117. Hello! My orthodontic treatment with braces was supposed to end around January or February, but due to timing issues, we still haven’t been able to set up a necessary appt… (I am 16 years old) I have oligodontia, so my orthodontist put in permanent retainers about 2 months ago and the wire recently fell off. I’m not exaclty sure what kinds of food I should eat since my mom won’t be able to make an appt with the dentist or orthodontist anytime soon. I was also wondering what I should do because I use natural toothpastes (the chemical ones make me sick) and I’ve noticed that despite the dental care I’m giving my teeth, my gums are still swollen. This occurred before I changed my toothpaste. It slightly improved but it hasn’t gone back 100% or even 50%.. more like 3%… Thank you so much for your time and help!

    1. Hi,
      In most patients with braces, the gum tissue will swell. It will not go down in size until your braces are removed. Continue to brush and floss as best as you can.

  118. Hi. I was wondering if you could answer this question for me because most people cant. I went to the orthodontist about three years ago to get braces. They also put these two things behind my two front teeth to prevent me from having an overbite. I got my braces off but I cant figure out how to get these off of my teeth. Its very aggravating. Please help!!

    1. Hi,
      It sounds like you are describing what are called “bite turbos”. They are ledges of acrylic used to open the bite up during treatment. Orthodontists place them in patients with deep bites. You can go back to your orthodontist and have them removed.

  119. When I don’t wear my retainer at night I wake up with a white line along my two front teeth and somtimes the two next to them and takes a while to get rid of , it seems to go away with me eating somthing.. Any idea what this is ?

    1. Hello,
      The only thing I can think of, is that when you don’t wear your retainer, you mouth breathe. With the retainer in your mouth, you keep your lips together. This dries out your upper front teeth and causes a line to occur right where your lip stops covering your teeth. That’s my guess. No harm is done to the enamel.

  120. Hello, I had braces for three and a half years. A few years after having them removed, I noticed one of my front teeth had moved up as if on a hinge. I recently went to my orthodontist. He believes my tongue has pushed it up. He removed the permanent retainer to see if that would move it back in place, but offered no method on how to fix it. Removing the retainer did nothing. What do you think could be done to move that tooth back into place? Do you think the treatment to fix the one tooth will be cheaper than my precious dental work which was braces on both my top and bottom teeth?

    Here is what my teeth look like. What do you think can be done to fix it?

    Thank you

    1. Hi,
      I have reviewed your photo. I would suggest treatment with braces or Invisalign and (IPR) interproximal reduction. IPR is needed to reduce the chance of relapse and create a stable occlusion.

  121. Hi Dr. Thompson,

    My daughter has on top and bottom expanders. She got the bottom ones on first and we were told they work expand automatically. When she got the top ones on, we were given a wrench to turn the mini bolt that causes expansion. On the top teeth, that seemed to work well, but the bottom teeth never moved, that I can see. When she smiles, her upper jaw appears larger than her lower. Now, months later, our orthodontist is telling my daughter she needs to have a lip bumper to create more expansion and push her molars back on the bottom. This seems to be going on forever and she still has to get braces after all of this. How can we speed up this process and not waste time? I feel like the lower expanded was a waste of money and time.

    1. Hello,
      Expansion of the upper can be done easily with a rapid palatal expander however lower expansion is harder and more time consuming. Expansion of the lower is done mainly by moving the teeth and not the bone so there are limitations to the amount of expansion that can be obtained. Every orthodontist diagnoses the progress of treatment as they go through treatment and the treatment plan can change. There is no way to speed up the process. Orthodontic treatment can take years because we are modifying patient growth.

  122. Hi Doctor,
    I have a problems with my braces current status. I have this braces almost 24 mos now. I have a problem with my alignment in my upper teeth. During the first year of treatment I could see improvement, the alignment was partially achieved, but as time goes by I have observe that my alignment worsen, it is much worse before I have my braces on, every time I smile it looks like I have paralysis on my left side because it’s uneven, by the way I have one missing tooth which is an left canine tooth, it was removed by my previous Dentist with out my permission, and to go back I think one of the reason is my missing tooth, I guess my dentist have observed this problem and also I asked her last Time about this but she just ignore it and said that it will be align in the future but it keeps worsening as what I have observed. Could you give me any suggestion so that I could bring it up to my dentist? Or anypossible treatment? And also could I use a denture though I have a braces? And lastly would my alignment would return to normal one? I have a picture so that you could see my teeth status right now.

    Thank you and hoping for your reply.

    1. Hi,
      I’ve viewed your picture however it was not very useful. In situations like this, I’d advise that you obtain a second opinion. Also, explain to your orthodontist what you do not like about your smile.

  123. I recently got my braces off and they gave me whitening gel… I got all excited then realized that because I have an actual clear retainer on the top and a permanent one on the bottom, I can only bleach the top… Won’t that look funny?

    1. Hi,
      It could. They can make you a whitening tray for the lower as well. Then you can do both upper and lower.

  124. I went to brush my retainer tonight, and I hadn’t worn it in about a week. Mold was growing on it. I’m currently soaking it in vinegar and water, but will it be safe to wear again? I can’t afford to buy a new one.

    1. Hi,
      I would suggest using diluted bleach solution (10%) to disinfect the retainers. Brush them well after soaking for about 20 minutes and they should be safe for use.

    1. Hi,
      You have all the same options as any other patient. You could have a bonded lingual retainer, a clear (essix) retainer or a hawley retainer. Among those, the hawley retainer could irritate the gum tissue covering your tori if not adjusted well. The posterior acrylic of the hawley retainer can be thinned to where you can wear it.

  125. I went to the dentist today to have a partially erupted wisdom tooth out. I’m 42 and it’s been partially erupted for years but it recently got infected. As he tried to take it out, it wouldn’t budge as the root has fused with the bone. He took the crown off and has left the root in the jaw. He sewed up over the top and said that the root is OK to leave in the jaw. I’m worried that it will cause pain if he’s cut the tooth in half exposing the nerve. Is this common and OK to leave the root in?

    1. Hello,

      I’d suggest you get a second opinion from an oral surgeon. Normally, roots are not left in the bone after an extraction.

  126. hello sir,
    i am a year 7 student and i am doing study on braces at the moment. can you please explain to me why braces are so expensive as i feel they should be cheaper or at least subsidized by the government. there are a lot of people that cannot afford them but need them.

  127. Hi, I got braces when I was 14 and I am now 18 I still have my braces on the one orthodontist that I was going to wasn’t a very good one so I left, and now my mum can’t afford to get my braces off. One of my back brackets have fallen off I’m in a lot of pain and I can feel my teeth starting to shift since I haven’t had them tightened in a year. Is there anything that I can do? or that I should do?

    1. Hello, Since you are not being seen regularly by your orthodontist or your orthodontist discontinued treatment, find an orthodontist who will remove your braces. There are many who will remove the braces for a nominal fee after you sign their release papers.

  128. Good Morning, Doctor.

    I went to two different orthodontist here in Nigeria. One told me to have frenectomy done to remove labial frenum,before he can put on braces for me while the other did not. who do you think I can go for? thank you

    1. Hello,
      Chances are, you have a space (diastema) between your upper central incisors. A labial frenum that is attached high on the alveolar ridge will cause a space and difficulty in space closure during treatment. The tissue just bunches up and prevents space closure from occurring. Since one orthodontist states you need a frenectomy, I’d have the frenectomy performed. You will have a higher chance of a good outcome and less chance of relapse during retention.

  129. My daughter had braces and has a permanent retainer on her from 6 bottom teeth and a clear retainer she wears on top. Her 12 year molars are now out of alignment. I believe they called it a crossbite. I was told it is unusual for this to happen, as they were straight, but I wonder why they were not covered by her top retainer. Is it normal to have the 2nd molars uncovered, and do you think the orthodontist should fix this issue without additional cost, as we paid for a full treatment plan?

    1. Hello,

      Usually 2nd molars erupt ok without intervention. A clear retainer should not cover the 2nd molars if they are actively erupting. Talk to your orthodontist about the crossbite. They may use a small compliment of brackets and elastics to jump the crossbite. This may be included in your treatment plan, but it depends on the office policies of your orthodontist.

  130. I’ve been wearing braces for 5 months and have molar bands cemented already. The wires were removed from from the locks of molar bands . what shall i do to put it back? Thank you.

    1. Hi, I don’t understand your question fully. If the wire has pulled out of the molar tubes and is poking you, you could ask your orthodontist if it is ok to cut the wire and shorten it.

  131. Hello,

    I am 23 years old and I have been yearning for straight teeth for years. I was at the dentist yesterday, and he recommended that I have my last wisdom tooth surgically removed (my upper right – too high in my sinus still)

    My question was, what treatment options can I look at after I get my wisdom tooth removed? Would I be able to have invisalign? How long should treatment take for a case like mine?

    Tori-P-3 Tori-P-4

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Tori,
      I have reviewed your pictures. Due to the fact that you have a lot of crowding, you may need expansion or extractions, depending on the space needed to eliminate the dental crowding. Invisalign is probably not the best option. I would say standard braces would be the best option. After examination and records taken by an orthodontic specialist, they will tell you the best treatment plan.

  132. Hi , i just have a quick question. I have self-ligature brackets and it’s replacement for the bands on the brackets. But i want to colored bands on my brackets. Am i able to get the bands on self-ligature brackets?

    1. Hi, That depends on your orthodontist. Self ligating brackets are used to allow the wire to move freely along the bracket without a lot of friction. Colored elastic ties can be placed on self ligating brackets. If you have colored elastic ties placed, it defeats the advantage of less friction with self ligating brackets.

  133. Hi. I got a small rubber band between two of my molars. I don’t know if the orthodontist noticed, but one of the molars were loose. Should I take the loose molar out or leave it. It bothers me a little. What should I do? Please answer quick. Thank you!

    1. Hello, If the loose molar is a primary (baby) tooth, then remove it. The rubber band is probably a separator that is used to create space between your teeth. A separator can cause a baby tooth to become loose.

  134. Hi, I had upper teeth braces when I was younger and was given a retainer. Over the past few months, my retainer that I wear at night has loosened a lot and is no longer doing anything. My two front teeth are beginning to separate and I am already getting a decent-sized gap. I am worried I will need braces again in the future. I am wondering – if I go into my orthodontists office, will they be able to tighten my retainer for me or give me another one?

    1. Hello, Go see your orthodontist before the gap gets too large. They can adjust your retainer or make a new one that should close the space.

  135. Dr.Thompson,
    I recently had braces applied with bite ramps on the back of my teeth. My over bite was almost fine but came down just enough to bite the bottom braces off. Many of my friends had this problem but a blue glue-like substance was used instead of the bite ramps. The bite ramps are giving me an awful lisp that won’t go away and I can’t chew anything. This is even worse for me because I’ve had a lateral tongue thrust that created large bite gaps. I’ve literally been eating only smoothies for the past 2 weeks. Why wasn’t the blue substance used on me and is there any thing I can to help me eat?

    1. Hi,
      There are a variety of ways to open a deep bite. I like to use a removable bite plate. Some orthodontists use bite ramps (turbos) and others place adhesive on the occlusal surface of the molars. If you are having major problems with the bite ramps, ask your orthodontist if there is another course of treatment that could be used.

  136. One day I randomly woke up with de calcification. It was not there before. What could cause it? I followed all of the brush and flossing directions

    1. Hello,

      30 minutes or less. It doesn’t take a long time to place brackets on the teeth especially if it’s just a few.

  137. Great article, very informative!!
    I wanted to ask a question if is not too much trouble. I’ve had braces for two years now, and my doctor says “we are almost there”, but there is a problem: when my treatment began they removed four of my premolars; three of the gaps had close very nicely, but there is one (on the upper left side) that won’t close. I have a powerchain and elastics to make them move faster, but my doctor says is my fault this one is not closing, because my tongue goes there every time i swallow, so he says the tongue is pushing the teeth in the opposite direction, and that is why the space wont close. I don’t know what to do, because it happens without me noticing it. Even when i’m sleeping the tongue goes in there!! When my mouth is closed, and i swallow my tongue presses against that particular hole.
    It’s a little gap but it’s noticeable. Please, can you recomend me something? I don’t think my doctor has any patience left.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello, Your tongue is not keeping the space from closing. There are many reasons a space will not close, bunched up gum tissue, a high frenum, a cyst, an extra tooth, friction with the wire, or ankylosed teeth. Usually with good mechanics, a space can be closed however there are times that a small space will not close and no reason can be ascertained.

  138. Hi Dr. Thompson, my two front teeth were protruding and there was a huge gap between them.I have a 100% overbite an I need forsus springs. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I have had braces for 9 months. My orthodontist put power chains on my teeth a few months ago and that really did the trick. My two front teeth were almost completely straight and the gap was closed. Last week, he removed the power chains and put normal braces on again. I have noticed that the gap is opening up again and my teeth are starting to protrude again!! Is this normal? If so, why is it shifting back?

    1. Hi, Your orthodontist is checking to see if your teeth are stable by not using the power chain. Since the space is starting to open up, your orthodontist will use the power chain again. Sometimes using a power chain will produce an opposite force that we do not want when we are doing other types of movements. The relapse that is occurring can be due to occlusal forces and gum tissue memory.

  139. I have had my top retainer for about 9 years, and recently decided it would be good to find a better way to clean it besides using my toothbrush (trying to remove tartar buildup, mostly). I began using denture tablets, but every time I use them, I find blue pieces (the color of my retainer) in the water it was being cleaned in. Why does my retainer seem to be falling apart so easily?

    1. Hi, I’m not quite certain what the blue pieces are. You’re retainer should not be falling apart by using denture tablets. Maybe the denture tablets have blue specks in them.

  140. Hello,

    Is it possible to fix an open bite caused by a short night guard? Apparently my back molars erupted and now they are the only point of contact when I comfortably close my mouth. Is the open bite permanent or can the back molars be “pushed” back down?

    Thank you,

    1. Hello,

      A short night guard can be used to intrude teeth and close an anterior open bite. However, it only works with people who are actively growing. Also, it will not work well with certain types of skeletal growth that causes open bites.

  141. I had my braces last September. My four bicuspid teeth have been extracted. How long will these spaces be gone and how will I have these braces? Thank you.

    1. Hello,

      Extraction sites usually close about one millimeter per month. Orthodontic treatment with braces usually takes about two years.

  142. I underwent orthodontic treatment few years back and I still have a fixed retainer in the lingual aspect of maxillary anteriors . few months before I went to my dentist with complaint of extrusion of the lower anteriors .I guessed it was due to fact that my third molars are erupting. now the extrusion has been corrected through fixed orthodontics but i have come to notice a mid-line shift towards the left which was less prominent before but now it as become noticeable to others . what would be your suggestion to this problem?

    1. Hi, Shifting the midline is normally accomplished by using anterior cross bite elastics during treatment. Usually the elastics are hooked from cuspid to cuspid from opposite sides and from upper to lower arches. This, of course, requires upper and lower braces. Consult with an orthodontic specialist to see what can be done.

  143. Hi, I got my top braces a year and a half ago and my bottom braces 6 months ago and right after they put my bottom braces on the Orthodontist I went to shut down and gave us names to different offices but they are all about 200 miles away and since my braces are paid for by my insurance they are the only ones I can go to but I have been trying to get into them for about 6 months now with no luck. Im so confused, I’ve been wondering if I should just get them taken off. Do you have any advice on what I should do?

    1. Hello, I would suggest you go to the closest orthodontist in your location and either continue treatment or have your braces removed.

  144. My sons name is Kenny he is 16 yrs old. He is in treatment in My town. I was an orthodontist assistant for many years in California. My question is… His gum line is looking very gummy. Aesthetically not happy 🙁 Is there something I can suggest to the doctor? He suggested to cut the gum line!! I thought this was a strange suggestion. Can we raise the anterior teeth up by lowering the position of the bracket? Please Help! Thank you, Leticia

    1. Hello, Gum tissue on almost all patients enlarges during treatment with braces. After the braces are removed, the gum tissue will reduce in size. For the most part, the gum tissue will go down to original size. Only after the braces have been removed for six months, would I suggest gingivoplasty for gum tissue that is still enlarged. This, of course, is a generalization for most situations. It may be different in your son’s case.

  145. I was wondering what would be the average or longest time to wear braces to correct a severe overbite. My daughter got braces on in 2012 and 4 years later is still wearing them with no removal date planned as of yet. We do not fully trust her orthodontist and are trying to get answers but have not received any information. While I understand that everyone’s mouth/teeth is different and times vary, we believe that 4 years is an exorbitantly long time to have braces on when it was just to correct an overbite – none of her teeth were crooked, had spaces, etc. I believe 3-3 1/2 yrs is generally the longest braces need to be on, and then a retainer should be provided. Would appreciate any advise you can provide.

    1. Hello,

      Your orthodontist should be able to tell you what other items they feel need to be corrected or why it is taking a long time. If you are not satisfied with the explaination, you can obtain a second opinion. Sometimes, long treatment times occur when adverse/unpredictable growth of the jaws are seen and your orthodontist is trying to slow or reverse that process with elastics or certain mechanics.

  146. Hi Dr.
    I started wearing braces in 2001. After 2 years, they were removed and I wore my retainer for maybe a year while going my periodic checkup. Afterward, I stopped wearing my retainer in 2004 and my teeth haven’t shifted (I should say significantly shifted…if there was a shift) since then. Are there cases where people end up not having to wear their retainers? Do I qualify as such? Would you like me to send you a picture?

    1. Hi. Some patients do not have to wear their retainers for long periods of time. It sounds like your occlusion is stable, since you have had no major shifting since 2004. Keep an eye on your teeth. If you see some adverse movement, see your orthodontist soon.

  147. I have braces on now, but my mom couldn’t afford it to keep on paying them so we never went back to a appointment. What should I do about them? I’ve had them on for a year with no appointment and my teeth is starting to hurt. Im embarrassed to go back to the orfodontics I went too, to have them removed. Could I go to a new place and get them removed ?

    1. Hello. You can have the braces removed by your orthodontist or another one. If you go to a new orthodontist, you may have to pay a small fee for their removal. Do have them removed soon if you are not having regular visits.

  148. Hi, I’m 32 years old and had braces fitted both top and bottom in March 2015. I had the top one’s removed a week ago and moulds were taken in order to make the retainer. I went today to collect the retainer and when he fitted it I felt a gap between the retainer and my roof of my mouth (palete). He said that it might just need to settle in and we’ll see how it goes after 3 weeks. Now I’ve had a retainer before and it fitted nice and snug with no spaces or gaps. Surely this is not right?

    1. Hello. I assume it is a hawley retainer you are talking about. When the acrylic of a hawley retainer cures, the acrylic will sometimes pull away from the palate. This is normal especially in some patients that have a high vault. I do not think it is something to be concerned about. The effectiveness of the retainer is still good.

  149. Hello, I have had braces for 6 months. One of my back teeth has a brace on it. The half that doesn’t have the brace on it just fell out. I don’t think it is a baby tooth, but it is a molar. What do I do?

      1. Hi Haley, I think you’re right, it’s a primary (baby) tooth. Call your orthodontist and see if they can see you soon.

  150. i have a hawley retainer and the grooves above my k9’s are hurting my gums and making it painful to brush my teeth. what can i do? should i call my orthodontist?

    1. Hello. Yes, you need to have your orthodontist bend the loops on your Hawley retainer away from your gum tissue. It will only get worse.

  151. I have had braces for just about a year now and due to an off centre line I was given the choice of choosing to correct my centre line however that will change my bite. I don’t know which option to choose? My centre line bothers me but I don’t know what a different bite would do?

    1. Hi. You should be able to have a proper occlusion and midlines that are on the facial midline. If you are talking about your upper midline, I’d have it fixed. Most people can detect an upper midline that is off. Your lower midline can be off a little and not be a factor with aesthetics.

  152. Hello i had my twin block for 3 months now and i see white stains on my twin block for some reason but not too much is that anything bad?? My chin is like very out as well and i have a gap between my two front teeth and it wasn’t there before.

    1. Hi, With some patients, the plaque will gather on their retainers or twin blocks. It is very hard to remove and can’t be removed with a toothbrush. Ask your orthodontist to remove it. To keep build up from occurring, rinse the saliva off of it when it is out of your mouth, brush it daily and use denture cleaner. A twin block is used to advance the mandible (make your lower jaw grow), so your chin will be out farther than it was when you started. The space is also created by the appliance which will be dealt with later.

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