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197 thoughts on “Ask A Question

  1. Hi I was wondering why my gums on the bottom of my bottom teeth so uneven, I got my braces off recently and I have noticed my gums before.

    1. Hi. The gum tissue in a young person covers part of the enamel. As your face matures, the gum tissue recedes to the cementum enamel junction, where it should be. So, your orthodontist aligns the teeth by the crown of the tooth and not the gum tissue. You will be alright. The gum tissue will go down in size and they will start looking more even the older you get.

    1. Hi. I guess it’s possible, but I wouldn’t do it. You can talk to your orthodontist about it. If a space is present, the gum tissue will not be protected by the contact point created by the teeth being together. This will result in loss of gum tissue and bone over time due to food hitting that area from chewing.

  2. Hi,
    I’m 8 months in to having my metal braces, both top and bottom. My upper teeth didn’t really need braces, but I thought I’d get them anyway. My lower teeth were very uneven and crowded. I am extremely unhappy with my upper teeth are looking at the moment. My orthodontist has pushed them upwards for some reason and I hate the way they look. If I was to have my upper brace removed, would my teeth move back to how they originally were? I actually preferred the way my upper teeth used to look. And if so, how long would this take?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi. If you have your upper braces removed and do not use a retainer, they will probably move back to where they were. I’d suggest that you talk to your orthodontist about the concerns you have with the positions of your teeth before having the upper braces removed.

  3. I have had my braces for 11 months now—–my molars STILL do not meet up and I can not chew food. I have lost 56 pounds and my dr is telling me not to lose any more weight! Will my back teeth ever “mesh” again so that I can chew food??????????

    1. Hi. At the end of treatment, your posterior teeth should occlude. You may want to talk to the orthodontist and find out if you have a skeletal Class III relationships, which would cause your posterior teeth not to occlude. If so, sometimes elastics, extractions or surgery is used to fix the problem.

  4. My daughter got her braces removed about a year ago. Since that time, her 2nd molars grew in. Her bite got messed up as a result. Her molars now hit, but the rest of her teeth do not. We saw the orthodontist and he put braces back on – just on the back 4 or 5 teeth (upper & lower). She also wears rubber bands at night. She has had them on for about a month now & her bite is even worse – her front teeth are not even close to coming together now. They put new wires in yesterday that they said will bring her teeth together. She is very nervous that this is not working. What are your thoughts about this approach?

    1. Hi, Your orthodontist may want to go to full braces, upper and lower to get complete control of the teeth. Sometimes a small complement of brackets and wires will fix the problem of a misaligned 2nd molar and at other times, full appliances are needed.

  5. My daughter has one of her front teeth crooked inwards, so we went to the orthodontist. She suggests that it can be straightened by pushing it with a spoon every day but to me this seems pretty insane thing to do. What do you think?

    1. Hi, Intermittent pressure will not move the tooth. Constant pressure over a period of weeks is needed to move a tooth. So, I disagree with the doctor’s assessment.

  6. Hi, My currently have a power chain on a couple front teeth to rotate my tooth but my bottom row is overcrowded so as the tooth rotates it’s kind of pushing my other tooth too is this okay? will it fix by itself or should i worry?

  7. Hi my top front left tooth is slightly overlapping tooth on right. Could I get an Essex retainer to hold them in place until I can afford braces? Will an Essex retainer hold overlapped teeth

  8. Thanks for your reply my teeth have been moving over last ten years and my dentist said I need braces. I have had no one else to ask what to do. Thanks again Ann ( Ireland’s)

  9. I recently had braces on wedensday top and bottom and I’m in pain every time I’m trying to eat the pain just gets worse , the tablets are not helping!

    How long will this take to stop the pain?

  10. Hi! I’ve had my braces on for about 18 months when it was only suppose to be 16. I’ve noticed that there are clear outlines of my brackets on my teeth. I brush and floss and they do not go away. Is it plaque or just excess glue? Should I be worried about white spots?

  11. My thai wife has rubber bands with 6 weeks now she was told this is the final stage and her braces can be removed in 2 months , she have them 2 years already

    1. Hi, You may want to talk with your orthodontist about the treatment progress or get a second opinion.

  12. My spacers broke today and i have an app to get bottom braces tomorrow at 9 am. Will i be able to get the braces or will i have to wait again? Thanks!

    1. Hi. You will probably have your braces placed. They can place the separator at a later date and the band the following week.

  13. My son has straight teeth, except one tooth started coming in ontop another tooth. It was suggested an expander be used. Son has horrible gag reflexes, so it couldnt be done. Would braces help, pros and cons?

    1. Hi. Some expansion can be done with the braces and they can get the ectopic erupting tooth in better position.

  14. Hi ! I’m 16 years old and i was wondering is there a alternative way of fixing my underbite without a surgery and at what age does my underbite get really worsen and how to know if it’s really worse.

    1. Hi. Class III malocclusions are usually the hardest malocclusion to correct. Early treatment is indicated to try to get the jaws to grow. Surgery can sometimes be avoided by using elastics and extractions. A consultation with an orthodontic specialist is recommended. They can tell you what is possible.

  15. Hello sir! Two of the brackets fell off from the side of the back teeth, on the other side one bracket fell off as well, it is not causing any discomfort but I’m wondering if the teeth are still straightening? In the front teeth everything is perfectly fine, should I wait to the next appointment or fix it right away?

    1. Hi. It would be best for you to call your orthodontist and tell them about the loose brackets. They may want to see you before your regular visit.

  16. Hi, my 16 year old son just had his braces taken off and both his top second molars are in a scissor bite. Orthodontists says it’s extremely difficult to correct and treatment may cause more problems with his bite etc so his plan is to leave them alone or possibly extract the top ones and hope the wisdom teeth can replace them. Do you think a second opinion is warranted here or is keeping it simple the best solution?

    1. Hi, The problem with extracting the second molars is that you don’t know the quality of the 3rd molars and they may also erupt into a poor position. The 2nd molar, IMHO, is a better tooth than the third molar. I’d get a second opinion.

  17. Hello
    I just got braces 1 day ago. I have this concern about my teeth: when I bite down only my front two teeth touch my front two brackets. My orthodontist placed some trampoline or squishy things on the bracket so they don’t pop off. I feel rly weird because none of my other teeth touch each other. Will it correct it self or should I be worried.

    1. Hi, You should not worry. When braces are placed upper and lower, there are a lot of occlusal interferences that occur. Over time, your posterior teeth will begin to touch better.

  18. Hello Sir, I actually started wearing braces in 2015 due to Class II malocclusion. My treatment was supposed to end by August/September 2017. However, In September 2016 i went abroad for studies and could not continue with the treatment. I was wearing elastics which I stopped in December 2016 as I had no one for follow ups.. Now there are spaces that are between my teeth.. i wanted to ask if i can resume this treatment and whether it is possible to continue it. As in will the gaps close again and can i still get aligned teeth.
    I would grateful if you could advise me. Thanking you.

    1. Hi, Yes you can resume treatment. The gaps will be closed and at the end of treatment you will have a proper occlusion. Please contact an orthodontic specialist in your area.

  19. Hi, I got braces December of last year. Although my teeth were perfectly straight I still had baby teeth on either side and on one side a small adult tooth started to grow in at the wrong place, so I had the baby tooth removed and got a full brace to get it into the right place. Now, I am going to University in September and really want my braces off before then, for both appearance, and to save the travel to the same orthodontist. The gap is a few millimetres between the small adult tooth and the very back tooth and if I have the brace removed before September I predict the gap will be more closed but not fully. So my question is, is it better to have a relatively larger gap (such as a few millimetres) or a more closed gap which I would have if I left them on until the very last moment before I leave home. I am aware of the problems that a gap can cause such as tooth decay but I am wondering whether it would be more severe with a smaller gap rather than a larger one.

    1. Hi, it is better to have a small gap. Try to get as much done before you have to have them removed.

  20. Is whitening toothpaste bad for braces? I’ve been using it for awhile know without knowing. I’ve heard both yes and no answers but not very sure.

  21. Hi, about 9 months ago I did an impacted canine exposure surgery but the tooth still didn’t come down and can’t be seen. yesterday my orthodontist said that the distance, because the gum got larger or something, between the impacted tooth and the brace wire is not enough to put as much pressure in order to pull it down as he used to able to do. so he suggested to remove part of the gum in order make more space between the tooth and the wire and that would make it easier and faster to pull.
    he seemed kind of confused so im not sure if his suggestion is the right thing to do.
    Thank you

    1. Hi. Cuspids come into the mouth better when a wire or elastic is attached to the tooth and a force is applied. Sometimes the gum tissue will cover the cuspid backup when they are deep. If there is no attachment to the tooth, it’s wise to have the gum tissue removed and an attachment connected to the tooth. If your orthodontist needs more room and the gum tissue is in the way, it would be best to have the gum tissue removed.

  22. Hi I would like to ask you that how to know that if I need braces at home without going to the orthodontist ??

    1. Hi, a good proper occlusion has a slight overjet, a 20% overbite, no crossbites, no rotations, good dental interdigitation, no dental crowding and a Class I molar relationship. If you search for those terms you will see some examples. This would give you an idea if you have problems with your bite.

  23. Hello Dr.Thompson I have an underbite and was told by 2orthodontists that braces could help improve my bite a lot better but not completely fix it. He said surgery would completely fix it. But anyways I was wondering would the braces change my face lips or cheeks in anyway. Because before I had an underbite my cheeks used to be a little more rounder, and now seem a little flattened, and also my lips were wider. Would braces help improve this, or would I need the jaw surgery to correct this. Let me know your opinion doctor, because I forgot to ask my orthodontist, and I’ve been at work mostly during their business hours.

    1. Hi, Facial features can change a lot with surgery and braces. In a Class III malocclusion, mainly, the pronounced chin is brought back and the strong chin is lessened. The check bone may be more pronounced if there is a maxillary advancement surgery is performed only or in conjunction with a mandibular setback. Changes in your profile should be discussed with the oral surgeon that is going to do your surgery. They can give you the best information about the finished results. Without surgery, and just braces used for treatment, very little changes will occur.

  24. Hi my daughters wire came out. It’s late at night and I just wanted to know if it’s ok to wait until morning to call or if she needs to be seen right away?

  25. Hi, when I tried to apply the upper&lower teeth I found it slightly slanted which there were little spaces also the lateral incisor is slanted towards the central incisor in the upper teeth so when I smile it will appear & my canine is slightly higher than the other teeth doctor I have another problem my right central incisor it was slanted and above the left central incisor when I was younger a simple accident resulted in a slight break in my right central incisor I want a simple and cheap treatment will the cosmetic filling be suitable or it will fall because it is small should I get braces for my situation because some orthodontists say that you need and one of them says you don’t need let your teeth to grow so I chose this website to answer my questions

    1. Hi, Small restorations of a chipped tooth tend not to be strong and will fail. The better solution, since you have other alignment problems, is to consider orthodontic treatment. It’s probably the best option.

  26. hi,i just had my upper premolar extracted for braces but the probleme is that i already have a missing premolar so i thought that the extraction must be symmetrical but that is not the case ,so wouldnt that give me an unbalanced smile or something like that ??????????

    1. Hi. Asymmetrical extractions are sometimes needed. Usually the posterior teeth on the side of the extraction have erupted too far forward. It is difficult to move the posterior teeth distal, so an extraction is made on that side. This keeps your dental midline in the middle and not off to one side once the teeth are aligned. As you go through treatment and the extraction space is closed, keep an eye on your midline and make sure it doesn’t shift.

  27. I do not have Lateral incisors
    Or what is known ” Missing Lateral incisors ” I went to Doctor
    The doctor removed two of the teeth and I got braces
    For two years , And my jaw now became back
    I do not like it ,I want to improve my jaw what is the solution ?

    1. Hi, In cases where a patient has congenitally missing lateral incisors, some orthodontists will treatment plan that the primary lateral incisors are removed and the space is closed. I tend like the aesthetics of removing the prinmary lateral incisors and keeping the space for a normal sized pontic (false tooth) in that space since baby tooth lateral incisors are small and usually don’t last a long time. The enamel wears down and they just don’t last. If you do not like your smile and the spaces are being closed, ask your orthodontist if opening the lateral spaces is an option.

  28. I have a permanent retainer behind my lower front teeth and sometimes it sounds like it popped but it doesn’t move or feel loose, is that normal or is it bad?

    1. Hi. It shouldn’t “pop”. A portion of the fixed retainer maybe loose. I’d have it checked by your orthodontist.

  29. I recently discovered that my daughter has a second lateral incisor on the right side. She is 4. I googled it and of course came across these really scary syndromes like Gardner’s syndrome. How likely would it be that she just has an extra tooth without having one of these syndromes? She has no other health issues. I am scared to death and need some reassurance. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi. Gardner’s syndrome can be diagnosed clinical findings of colorectal polyps, osteomas, and soft tissue tumors. A genetic test can rule out Gardner’s syndrome if your physician thinks it is needed. Gardner syndrome usually has multiple supernumerary teeth, not just one. It is not uncommon to see supernumerary teeth. Incidence in the population is 1-3%. I’d say she just has an extra tooth that needs to be monitored and see if it effects the eruption of the permanent teeth. If it does, it can then be removed.

  30. Hi, I have my orthodontic expander on the lower part of my mouth, and stopped turning it because my dentist said my teeth were in the right position. However, the spaces between my teeth are getting smaller and smaller and I am afraid that they are moving back to where they are. As a whole they still look fine, but the next meeting would be two months later and this really bothers me.

    1. Hi. I would not worry about your teeth changing positions. The expander has created some room and the teeth are moving naturally due to more space.

  31. Hi it has been a day after I extracted 4 bicuspids to make room for braces. I have found that i have a lisp and that I cannot pronounce ‘s’ sounds very well due to the empty spaces where my teeth used to be. Just wondering will the lisp be permanent? If not, when will I be able to speak normally again? Thank you!

    1. Hi, The lisp is very temporary. You will retrain your tongue to make “s” sounds very quickly. Also, as your space is closed, you will have less problems with your speech.

  32. Hi! My daughter has been in orthodontia since she was 9. She has had braces on since 6th grade and is now headed into 9th. Her teeth are “perfect” and fixed except for the fact that her 12 year old molars are still not full up. They have been erupting for over a year now. Her orothdontist said we can take the braces off and call it a day or wait (and start paying monthly again) indefinitely till they fully rise but we have no idea how long that will take as they don’t seem to be erupting any higher. We’ve been waiting months. Her molars are 1/4 to 1/2 way up at most and are aligned correctly, how ever one side in particular has an angle and not a direct bite. But it is not erupted enough to fix. What should we do? Wait and begin paying again indefinitely? Or take them off and deal with it later IF they ever fully come up? I really don’t want to pay again monthly waiting for these teeth to rise but on the other hand we have come so far. My daughter is frustrated and at 14.5 wants her braces off. If we take them off would this be a hard problem to deal with later? Or is the fact that they are aligned but not totally perfect ok and will not cause her problems later in life? We don’t know what to do! Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Hi, Based on what you have told me, I’d have the braces removed. As she grows, more space will be available for the 2nd molars to erupt. If the 2nd molars need help at a later date, then you can address that issue at that time, but I would not just wait for the 2nd molars to erupt. It could be a long time before they do.

  33. Hi, before i got my braces on there were nearly no problems. at least no visable problems, i had a small cross bite and was told to go to an orthodontist. he told me it would take 18 months. i’ve had them on for a year and two months, he told me in my last appointment i’d have them off in two months (the end of summer) now today he tell me i’ll have them on for another six months?! what is going on? is this normal? i don’t want them on for another six months i want them off by the end of summer!

    1. Hi, Sometimes teeth do not move as well as we expect. An orthodontist diagnoses the past month movements and then makes decisions to continue treatment. I’d say some of your teeth are not moving as fast as the orthodontist wants. If you are wearing elastics, make sure you are wearing them properly. That can help get your braces removed. For my patients, I do not get into predicting when the braces may be removed to avoid the frustration that a patient goes through.

  34. Hi, how can my midline shift be corrected? I am currently using braces and my orthodontist pretty much gave up on me. They claim I don’t use my elastics. However I use them 24/7 so I’m thinking the position they told me to put my elastics is the wrong way.

    1. Hi. Talk to your orthodontist and make sure you are wearing your elastics the right way. Also, there are different strengths of rubber bands and you may be asked to double up the elastics. Talk to the orthodontist and see if any of these ideas will help.

  35. Hi, I got braces 2 weeks ago and I am just wondering can I play AFL if I have my braces on?? It involves light tackling but only in some parts, Thanks.

    1. Hi, You can wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you play Arena Football. You need to use a mouth guard that is not formed by heating in hot water and biting into it. You have to use a mouth guard that just has a ledge to bite on. If you use a mouth guard that is custom formed, if you get hit a certain way, all or part of your braces may shear off. Ask your orthodontist about a mouth guard. They may have one to give you. I like Shock Doctors. Click Here for info about Shock Doctors Mouth Guards

  36. Hello Dr.Joseph I have a question about braces
    So do you know anything about expose and bracket because in about 6 months I have to have oral surgery.
    Will they put me to sleep when they do this procedure??

    1. Hi, They are talking about an impacted tooth that needs help with it’s eruption. Usually this is an upper impacted cuspid that is trying to erupt on the palate side of you maxilla. When this happens, the cuspid will not erupt. It needs helps. So, the patient is referred to an oral surgeon. They are slightly sedated and the gum tissue is pulled back to expose the crown of the tooth. A bracket is then placed on the crown of the cuspid and a chain is attached to the bracket. The gum tissue is placed back over the crown and it heals with the chain coming out of the gum tissue. That chain is then used by your orthodontist to place pressure on the tooth to protract it into position. It can take up to a full year to get the cuspid into position. Also, in some cases, even after a year, the cuspid will not come in and have to be removed.

  37. Hi, I had my braces checkup today, and they put a coil and a chain between the same teeth (I have a baby tooth without an adult tooth between the two teeth, front tooth and canine tooth, with the chain and coil). I was just wondering what purpose that was doing, since it’s pulling my teeth apart and together at the same time and is causing a lot of pain in that area.

    1. Hi, If I have visualized your question properly, they may be trying to rotate a tooth with the power chain and the coil keeps it from rotating too far. I usually use this combo to rotate a tooth.

  38. My brackets keep breaking and for a while my molar bands too. however, the molar bands were my fault because i kept chewing gum, which i have stopped. however, my brackets keep breaking and i don’t eat anything i’m not suppose to. instead, they break when they get too pressured by food pressing down on them when i chew. my dentist threatened to remove my braces if i kept breaking them a while ago and since i got back from the dentist most recently, i have broken one and another is kind of loose but still partly glued to the tooth. i have something broken each time i go to the dentist. i try my hardest to not break anything and every time i eat it feels like i’m walking on eggshells. what should i do?? my dad already tried talking to the dentist about it, which ended really nasty. that and because i keep breaking my braces, everyone at the dentist hates me and is slightly rude to me there. i don’t know what to do. i’ve had braces for 5+ years already and my teeth only really started improving this year. what’s the best way to handle this situation?

    1. Hi. In situations like yours where there is a lot of breakage, I try to move away from bonded brackets to placing bands on the teeth. Sometimes the malocclusion makes it easy to break the appliances or your enamel is weak and the bonding is not strong. So, placing bands helps. The second thing I would use is a bite plate or bite turbos. A bite plate opens the bite and keeps you from clamping down on your lower braces. Bite turbos are adhesive placed on the occlusal surfaces of the lower molars, which also opens up your bite.

  39. Hi Dr. Joseph, my son just got his braces and as soon as we got home one of the rubber bands came off the bracket. I called the ortho office and I was told its fine he can wait until his next appointment wich is in 6 weeks. Isn’t the rubber band needed to keep wire in place.

    1. Hi. It is true that the elastic tie keeps the wire in the slot of the bracket. I’d say it is ok to wait until your next appointment. It would be more critical if it happened at the final stages of treatment. Since he just started, it will be ok.

  40. Hi, I had my palatal expander taken out a couple days ago, they used a drill and literally drilled through the metal bars connected to the bands on my back teeth, In one place there is a sharp edge where it is cutting the side of my tongue and making it extremely difficult to eat, drink, etc. problem is, my orthodontist doesn’t open until Monday and I’m leaving to go to a summer camp tomorrow for a week, is there anything I can do ( other than pain relievers I’ve already tried) to relieve the pain until I can get an appointment?

    1. Hi, That is a problem. There is not much you can do except maybe use a mouth piece at night time when you are sleeping. That may allow the inflammation to go down.

  41. hello, i just got my braces on with all the arch wire and stuffs. everyone that i asked who has wore braces said that only the anterior tooth will hurt when the arch wire is placed. but for me my whole dentition hurts. i cant even use my posterior tooth to bite and also anterior. its very painful to bite. should i be concerned? or ot is totally normal.

  42. Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me if Forsus appliances would work at the age of 17, I’m going to have them in about a month. I have an overjet of 0.8 mm with hypodontia (lower jaw incisor). My dentist says that it’s a kind of a risk to put them at this age since the growth plates are closed by this time. However, I read some papers written by dentists who experimented Forsus on adults and young adults and secured exceptional results. Could you light me up? Would my overjet be fixed?

    1. Hi. Forsus can be used on the adult patient. You will get more tooth movement than boney movement, as in a child. Since you have a small amount of overjet to correct, Forsus should work.

  43. Hi My daughter wa cleaning her twin blocks last night when she dropped the lower one on the floor.She stepped back to look for it…and trod on it. The plastic broke in half. We have an appointment tomorrow but I wondered what they will do. Is it repairable? Could it be glued by them? Worried that she’ll need new ones and that the wait will mean her teeth move back. Any advice would be appreciated! Many thanks

    1. Hi. It is possible to repair the twin block if it is not severely damaged. It all depends on how the appliance is damaged.

  44. I have braces as well as a lingual arch. One of the brackets on the lingual arch molar band broke off while i was eating and don’t have access to the ortho for a few days. What should i do!! Is this a big procedure to fix or can they just reattach the bracket?

    1. Hi, They will probably removed the lingual arch and spot weld the bracket back on. That can be done. If not, they will have to make a new one.

  45. Hi I Have had braces for about 9 months and I recently got a spring wire removed and it has left a lump inside of my lower lip from where there was a deep cut . Is there any way of getting rid of this lump of skin/flesh even though it has already healed ??

    1. Hi, The tissues in that area will take a long time to remodel. Slowly the lump that you feel will dissipate. BTW, there are some minor salivary glands apart of the lower lip that should feel lumpy. They will never go away.

  46. I get my braces off in two weeks, and I brush and floss very diligently. However, I just noticed two grey spots on the corners of my teeth. They are less than 1 mm and can only be seen with a flashlight. Are they cavities or just part of the coloring of my tooth?

    1. Hi. Good question. I’d say it is not a cavity but very translucent enamel and it is normal. The translucency of the enamel varies from patient to patient. Since you had to use a flashlight to see it, I’d say your enamel in that area is very translucent and not opaque.

  47. Hi,
    I have had my top braces for almost three months now. I was suppose to get my bottoms on but it was delayed for a few months due to having to have some dental work on the bottom teeth. I am now definitely getting the bottoms on in a few weeks. Since the tops were placed first, will my tops come off first before the bottoms?

    Also ,
    I was told 4 extractions were a possibility with my case. I have a mild overbite with excessive crowding on the bottom, and some crowding on the top? If my ortho. does decide that I need extractions, when will that possibly be and will that extend my treatment time?

    1. Hi. No, your braces will probably be removed all at the same time. To your second question, usually extractions are performed in the first year of treatment. If extractions are needed, it usually would increase your treatment time.

  48. Hello, so of course my orthodontist gave me the clear retainers to wear at night after I got my braces off. Well, I have been wanting to get a gum lift procedure done and was wondering if I will have to get new retainers after getting a gum lift or would I still be able to use the retainers I have now?

  49. Hi Dr Thompson,
    My 12 yr old son has a very horizontal canine inside his upper gums just right above & between his two front teeth. It did not drop down to it’s rightful place but went past instead. Is there still any hope of pulling the canine back to where it belongs or is extraction the only option left? Will oral surgery and ortho be required and is this a very difficult case? I have a picture if you want to look at it. He has an appointment with the ortho in 2 weeks, but I am extremely worried and feel so bad for him, thus I would like to hear some opinions ahead. Thanks very much.

    1. Hi,

      Cuspid impaction occurs often. What course of treatment depends on the position of the crown of the cuspid and the angle of the root. If the cuspid is completely horizontal, sometimes it’s best to removed the cuspid. In most cases, an attempt to bring the cuspid is tried for about one year. Radiographs and the examination will determine the orthodontist’s course of action. An oral surgeon will place a bracket with a chain on the crown and your orthodontist will apply pressure to protract it into place.

  50. Hi, I got my braces from my home country but i won’t be going home in the next three months and we’re from the opposite side of the earth. One of the rubbers on my braces loosened and eventually disappeared. Can i possibly visit a different dentist and have them fixed?

    1. Hi, yes an orthodontist can change out your elastic ties. They will get soft, break and come off the brackets when they are left in the mouth for months.

  51. One of the brackets on my lower molar that holds my elastic band has broken. I can’t get it fixed for one week (due to orthodontist availability) and so therefore can’t wear my elastic bands for one week.

    Is my bite likely to revert within one week? Will this delay my treatment?

  52. Hi Dr. Thompson. My 17-year-old daughter has had a palate expander for about a week. This morning, she complained about cuts on her tongue that were bleeding. Is this normal? And, today is Saturday, so we cannot go to the orthodontist until at least Monday. Is there anything we can do in the meantime? Thank you!

    1. Hi.
      There is a sharp edge of the band that needs to be buffed down. There is nothing you can do in the meantime. I have seen some patients use 2″ x 2″ gauze to try to protect the tongue.

  53. Hi! I have swollen gums on some teeth even though I brush and floss very diligently. I know that some people just get it due to the proximity of the braces. I get them off in less than a week. How do you recommend reducing gum swelling?

    1. Hi, After your braces are removed, your gums will start to retract to normal. Brushing and flossing regularly will make it reduce faster.

  54. HI, Ive had my braces on for about 6yrs, but I stop going to an orthodontist like 4/5 yrs and now i have gingivitis ( Bottom Gums are Very loose) ,wondering… should i go see a dentist first to fix my Gingivitis problem or should i just go to an orthodontist and have my braces taken off, then go fix my gingivitis problem????

    1. Hi,

      If you have advanced or severe periodontist, I’d suggest the braces be removed and then get your gum tissues back to a healthy state. You may want to consider Invisalign instead of traditional braces. You can keep your teeth cleaner with Invisalign.

  55. Hello. I’m getting my braces off in four days after two years of having them on, finally!! But, I’m dreading the removal. My teeth are SUPER sensitive and just the thought of them sanding the glue off my teeth makes me cringe and shudder in pain. A lot of orthodontists say it shouldn’t hurt but everybody I talk to that has had their braces removed says that it’s very cold and hurts when the glue is being sanded off. I am super scared, are there any alternatives to getting the glue off or is there anything that the ortho could do to reduce the pain? Thanks.

    1. Hi, We do use cold air to keep the tooth from overheating. With my patients that have super sensitive teeth, I remove the adhesive slowly and cover the adjacent teeth with my fingers to keep the cold air from hitting them. Just tell your orthodontist you want to take a lot of breaks by raising your finger when it starts to bother you. They can stop, let the tooth warm up and then you proceed. It just takes some time. It’s not the high speed bur that hurts, its the cold air.

  56. Hello! So a couple of hours ago i started feeling that my lower left canine is somehow touching the gum between my upper left lateral incisor and upper left canine when i bite down, with or without food in my mouth (only the one on the left side ; the right side is fine). My lower central and lateral incisors seem to bite very close to the upper gums but not into them. Note that my lower teeth are behind my upper teeth (not an underbite). So, what might be the cause of this and why is it happening on one side only? And any suggestions for treatment? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi, It sounds like your occlusion is adjusting and getting deeper. If you are in orthodontic treatment, there will be a lot of odd feelings as your teeth are being move. If you are not in treatment, you may want to seek an orthodontic consultation.

        1. Orthodontic treatment to get rid of a deep bite would include using braces or Invisalign. Also some other removable devices can be used to open the bite.

  57. I’m studying ortho and was reading an article that confused me. Was unable to contact the authors though so thought I would ask.
    It states that three patients developed open bites after using nightguards. It stated that images of the joints after the open bites had developed didn’t show any changes to the condyles. However, the article also states that, “The fact that none of the three cases could voluntarily attain occlusion similar to that achieved prior to the splint, suggests that adaptive changes and articular remodeling had taken place, as reported in the literature for humans and other animal species.” If they had taken images of the joints and saw that the condyles had not changed, then what other sort of “adaptive changes and articular remodeling” would have taken place that it suggests?

    1. Hi,

      I think the article is confusing. To develop an anterior open bite from a patient wearing a full coverage hard acrylic splint (a) the anterior teeth could have intruded (b) the posterior teeth could have extruded or changes could occur at the Temporomandibular Joint. I don’t believe a properly made splint will make intrusion or extrusion of teeth. Since the article says that no changes could be seen pre and post treatment of the TMJ, they may be suggesting that the whole TMJ has moved relative to the occlusion. That’s my best guess. I wish you well in your studies.

      1. Thanks for the response, I found it confusing too. So this would mean the condyles simply moved into a different spot, rather than changed?

  58. Hi,
    What are some of the reason for not having some teeth bracketed? On the top,I have a molar bands on my second to last tooth on each side, and the last tooth doesn’t have a bracket or anything, aren’t those teeth going to have to eventually move with the rest of them?
    On my bottom teeth , its weird, I have a molar band on the last tooth, and no bracket on the molar next to it, it has a crown, so its just wire, and then on the other side i have the molar band on the second to last tooth and then the last tooth doesn’t have anything?
    I was just curious to find out the reason why, or if il’ eventually get these teeth bracketed?

    1. Hi,
      Every orthodontist does things differently. Some like all the bands and brackets on every tooth. Some orthodontists will place braces as they need them. Results are the same. The orthodontist who places posterior brackets as needed may be waiting on tooth eruptions.

  59. Is it normal for my permanent retainer to be twisting my teeth? I want to know because I think my orthodontist didn’t know what she was doing.
    Quick Backstory:
    My (fresh out of college) orthodontist decided that I needed 2 more years of braces right before I was supposed to have them off and proceeded to lie to me and my mother on multiple occasions and give me what seems like a permanent retainer that is almost painfully small.
    It’s been over a year and my boyfriend recently pointed out to me that two of my teeth within the retainer are almost completely twisted around.

    1. Hi, It is not normal for teeth to turn that are attached to a fixed bonded lingual retainer. You may want to see an orthodontist before it gets worse.

  60. Hi! I just got my braces off, and I am really happy with the result. However, I noticed some very faint vertical lines in my front teeth that resemble cracks. Are my teeth ok?

    1. Hi, Google “vertical craze lines teeth”. Very common and found in all adults. Normal wear and tear of the crown. Usually alarms patient when noticed. Not caused by the orthodontic treatment but from biting forces.

  61. Can I still get my braces before root canal.? My teeth doesn’t hurt at all , no pain in my jaw , I brush my teeth everyday and night. Can I still get my braces?

    1. Hi. Root canal should be performed before orthodontic treatment begins. Source of infection has to be removed.

  62. I got a chain put in for my impacted tooth in June. In late July I went to my orthodontist and they tied the chain to some kind of string to start the pulling process. It is now August and just a few minutes ago, the thread fell out of the roof of my mouth where it was tied to some kind of expander. It dangles down and whenever I talk you can see it. How do I hide the chain and string? My next appointment is on August 31 and it cannot be moved up to accommodate this issue. Please help me hide it.

    1. Hi, It sounds like the chain has detached from the crown of the cuspid. Just let the chain dangle until you see your orthodontist. If the office says you can snip it, keep the piece to show your orthodontist.

  63. Hello Dr.
    I am from India
    I got my internal Retainer removed week back. after removl i Requested my denstist to remove glue.he remved as much as he could but still i feel it everytime my ttounge touches my teeths any solution for it..
    Dr. Says there is very less glue or no glue he can see buts its irritating any home ramdy i can do.?

    1. Hi, Nothing you can do at home. Get a second opinion. The glue should be completely removed. If it is not glue, the tooth can be contoured.

  64. 1 more question dr. Actually my front two teets were bit out for same i have done orthodontist treatment but he romved 1 upper teeth and two lower teeth. Which has result in underbite i cant. Evn break any plastic packet for e.g. chips.. also my front two teeths still having gap not alligned. Dr says its proper in same case whay i can do ?

    1. Hi, I’d suggest a second opinion. You may need orthognathic surgery to correct your overbite and deep bite.

  65. I just got my braces off, but I noticed thin vertical cracks in my teeth from the gumline to right under where the bracket was. They can only be seen with a flashlight. My teeth have always been sensitive, so I don’t think anything changed. Are my teeth ok?

    1. Hi, Google “vertical craze lines teeth”. Very common and found in all adults. Normal wear and tear of the crowns. Usually alarms patient when they are noticed. Usually seen at the dental office with our bright patient lights. Not caused by the orthodontic treatment but from biting forces.

  66. Hi,
    I have my full metal braces on yesterday, My ortho put 4 molar bands. two in the bottom and two on the top. Yesterday when i tried to eat I can’t chew or bite as my teeth is not meeting up, there’s a big gap between my top and bottom teeth. I can’t close my teeth. Also, it feels like my two right molar bands hitting up each other every time I tried to close my teeth. Im 30 btw. I am wondering if this is normal or not?

    1. Hi, Very normal. We do not place brackets and bands out of the way of your malocclusion. As the wires become straighter, your occlusal plane will become flatter and you will have more teeth occluding.

  67. hello, Ive been wearing braces for 2 1/2 years and on my last appointment I was told I would be getting them off at my next appointment. Which I was excited about. However my orthodontist changed my elastics to a heavier and tinier elastic. Ive been wearing it the way he said and since there is 2 elastics on the same tooth it has caused the tooth to become higher than the rest of my teeth. My teeth dont touch on my right side anymore and I’m afraid that when I go back to my appointment that I wont be able to get them off. Is this normal? or will my tooth go back down in about 3 weeks when I have my appointment?

    1. Hi, Since there is a lot of force on that tooth, it sounds like it has hyper erupted. Just call the office and ask them if you should continue wearing the elastics as instructed.

  68. Hi Dr. Thompson,

    I’m thinking about having my first molar extracted as it has severely decayed and had root canal done. I’ve checked with a number of orthodontists and one of them thinks that he can close the gap where my first molar is now by use of braces and TAD. Have you done it in your practice? Did the patient have a desirable outcome?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, I have used temporary anchorage devices TADs in my practice but not to protract a second molar mesial. Since your first molar is still present, there will be a good amount of bone in that area to move the 2nd molar into its position. I have seen cases in our literature that a TAD can be used to protract a molar successfully.

  69. I got a cavity filled and my essix retainer ended up pushing a front tooth out by a millimeter. I didn’t feel any pain when I put it in at night, just discomfort, and of course the panic the next morning upon finding out what happened. I got a new retainer and ever since it’s been held in that position. I read that root resorption can occur if teeth are moved too quickly. What are the chances that this could have occurred?

    1. Hi, An active essix retainer does not produce enough pressure nor the right type of force to produce root resorption.

  70. Hello
    I got my braces off after 4yrs on this Monday but was told I would have to wait till next Monday to get my retainers. It’s Thursday now and although my teeth were perfect on Monday, today while brushing I noticed a very small (a hairline gap) between my two front teeth. I’m slightly worried as I had a big gap before my braces that was one of the reasons I wanted to get braces.
    I would like to know if the gap would close as soon as I get my retainers on Monday
    And also if the position of my tongue pushing against my two front teeth is the reason the gap appeared.
    If my teeth are moving back this quickly, do I have cause to be worried?

    1. Hi, After braces are removed, the teeth try to move a lot. That is why we have the patient wear retainers. If you had a large diastema, it will try to open back up due to the memory of the gum tissue and anatomy of that area. As soon as you start to wear your retainers, your space will close back up.

    1. Hi. If your palate needs expansion, it will sometimes make it easier to breathe through your noses after expansion. Treatment with just braces will not cure mouth breathing. Mouth breathing is usually due to air constriction of the nasal cavity. If the constriction is at the base of the nose, as an RPE expands the palate, it also expands the floor of the nose.

  71. When my son was 3 he fell off a swing and split his upper lip. H has had many dental problems and has worn braces three times now. The most recent taken off when he was 19. The retainer did not fit because the upper tooth was already shifting out of position. And now the tooth is pivoting completely. He does not want to do braces again since they have failed and the permanent bar placed on the back of his upper teeth has also failed.. Do you have a suggestion of where we might look for some alternative methods?

    1. Hi. Invisalign may be a good alternative. Since he has has so much relapse, he may have to wear a retainer indefinitely.

  72. I have a permanent bonded retainer on the back of my bottom front six teeth. Recently I have noticed that after I eat something, the very last tooth that had the wire connected to it, will click when I place my finger on the tooth, and press my tongue against the tooth. Now I highly doubt my tooth could be loose, but just wondering what it could be?

    1. Hi. It sounds like your fixed retainer has come loose and needs repaired. Call your orthodontist for an appointment.

  73. I got my tooth extracted that was stuck up in my gums, and now I have a chain thing connected to braces and the hook came off the braces, is that a bad thing?

  74. Hi. I’m 14 y/o boy and I have got braces two days ago. I have mandibular asymmetry and I want to know if braces can at least improve my face symmetry, or fix it fully. Thanks.

    1. Hi, It all depends on how much of an asymmetry is present and what type. In some cases, the mandible can be made to grow and correct the asymmetry. If you are Class III, the asymmetry usually cannot be corrected by just using braces.

    1. Hi. I’m not sure what you are referring to. Call your orthodontist and explain to them better what you are concerned about.

  75. Hi ,one my my backers was loose two weeks ago,I called my ortho and they said it could wait until my next appointment as long as I’m not in pain .However,now the bracket is completely off of my tooth and is hanging on the wire so you think they will want to see me sooner ,or will they only see me if I’m in discomfort ?

      1. Hi,
        I gave them a call today and they said the same thing. I was concerned because my next appointment isn’t until the middle of September. They said they would only see me if I was in pain. I told them I was not, however I have been sore since, and I am not sure if it is because the bracket is off the tooth or if I am just generally sore in that area. I put wax over it to keep it from flipping,and sliding. So I am hoping I can be comfortable as possible until my appointment.

  76. Hi Dr. Joseph,
    I got my braces in yesterday, and so far everything is going as well as it can (although it still hurts a lot especially my top front teeth which are very sensitive.) I was wondering what the proper way to brush your teeth with braces is. My orthodontist gave me all the stuff to brush with but I’m not really sure how to use all of it?

    1. Hi,
      The majority of plaque accumulates under the wire, therefore you need to push the bristles of your brush underneath the wire to get all the plaque. Be aggressive. You can’t brush like you use to when you didn’t have braces. I’d brush with a standard soft bristled manual toothbrush and then an electric toothbrush, three times a day. One of those times is with a wet toothbrush without toothpaste. During this brushing, look at your teeth and braces and carefully remove any white or yellow plaque you see. We call this dry brushing. The other times use toothpaste.

      Use superfloss to floss everyday and under the wires. Your toothbrush will wear out quickly and needs replaced every two months.

  77. I’ve had my braces on for 3 years now and my orthodontist just put a power chain on the bottom of my teeth to start closing them in. Is it normal to feel my teeth “loose” when I am flossing or even chewing, I can feel my teeth shift a bit and then kind of “snap” back into place? Never had this feeling before with just the bands on my brackets.

    1. Hi, It is normal for your teeth to be loose. The periodontal ligament widens during orthodontic treatment. After braces are removed, the PDL goes back to it’s normal width. On a side note, a lot of patients will have a dream that their teeth fell out.

  78. My arch wire went below my bracket. I feel as if it’s pushing my teeth out a little and it feels uncomfortable. Is this an emergency? What should I do?

  79. I had a lower fixed retainer removed after having it on for 5 yrs. My orthodontist used finishing strips to make wiggle room. There are no interproximal contacts on the lower anterior teeth now. Why did he do this?

    1. Hi,
      It is common for an orthodontist to perform interproximal reduction. Your orthodontist did the IPR because they thought you had a high risk of relapse even with a fixed retainer over 5 years.

  80. My daughter has a palatal rapid expander and was scheduled to get braces today. However, since we are in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, she will not see the orthodontist for at least another week. Should she stop OR continue turning until we get an appt?

    1. Hi,

      To be on the safe side, I’d stop turning it. You can turn an RPE too far. Usually I tell my patients/parents to turn the RPE so many turns and then stop. If you can call and get instructions from your orthodontist, that would be best.

  81. I just got my braces and I was wondering if the wire is suppose to directly touch my tooth, I ask this because I don’t know if I pushed it toward my tooth on accident or what, my tooth is further out than my front so it makes sense, but I’m still nervous. Another question is if I can skate as the board rumbles when going against the ground and I don’t know if that could make it easier for my wire to move.

    1. Hi. It is ok for the wire to lay against your tooth. This can happen when there is a lot of crowding in the beginning. Just keep it clean.
      You can skate board with no problems. If your wire shifts, it is usually due to chewing on foods with a light wire.

  82. Hi, I just got my braces off and only one set of my molars touch when I bite down. My ortho said it is because the bite turbos that were placed on my bottom molars (used to keep my front top teeth from biting into the bottom brackets) pushed those molars down into the gums a bit. He didn’t give me a bottom retainer (clear invisalign kind) yet because he said it will take a few months for my molars that had the bite turbos on them to come back up and meet the top molars. He did, however, put a permanent bottom retainer behind my bottom from teeth. My concern is my bite. Is this correct? Will the molars that had the bite turbos on them settle back up and meet my top molars when I bite down? Or do I now have a bit problem where my teeth don’t meet? Thanks for any info.

    1. Hi. Usually teeth will erupt until they touch an opposing tooth. It may take some time though. Give it 6 months, and if your molars are not occluding better, then talk with your orthodontist.

  83. My daughter has a palate expander that’s been in for almost two weeks and tonight when we turned it we heard a pop and she was in intense pain. Is that norma?

    1. Hi, in older patients when a rapid palatal expander is being used, the palatal suture can be somewhat closed. As you turn the RPE, pressure builds up until the suture lets go. That is when you hear a popping sound and rapid movement occurs. The pain should subside and you may see a space develop between the maxillary incisors. If pain continues, call your orthodontist.

  84. Hi,
    Can you provide more information on an active spring retainer? I am a 22 year adult, had braces over 10 years ago and there is slight shifting of the top four anterior teeth.

    When is a spring retainer an option and when is it not? And roughly how much is the cost?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, a spring retainer is a retainer that can move teeth. It is active. To make the spring retainer, they cut the teeth out of your model that need to be moved and place them into better positions. Then, they make the spring retainer off of your model with modified tooth positions. When you place the spring retainer in your mouth it is actively trying to move your teeth back into good positions. A spring retainer is used for minor tooth movements. Your orthodontist, knows by experience, when to suggest a spring retainer based on the amount of tooth crowding and the positions your teeth. As far as cost, it can vary a lot from one orthodontist to the next.

  85. Hi so I’ve had about almost 2 years with my braces. My teeth look pretty straight now but my orthodontist says that I’m pushing my teeth forward with my tounge. I don’t really know how to fix this problem?

    1. Hi. A tongue thrust, which is an over retained infant swallowing habit, is hard to correct. You have to conscientiously retrain the tip of your tongue to push right behind the lingual of your upper incisors instead of between your upper and lower teeth. You can use a small mint placed on the lingual side gum tissue and practice, trying to swallow with your tongue pushing on the mint. Since we swallow sub conscientiously, it is hard to retrain our tongue movements in the swallowing mechanics.

  86. Hi, my orthodontist said 8 weeks ago when I went in that we were waiting for my midline to line up. Since my midline is perfect will I get my braces off at my next appointment?

    1. Hi. I can’t predict what your orthodontist is going to do. If your occlusion meets all of your orthodontist’s requirements, maybe.

  87. Hi Dr. Thompson. I’m 55 years old and have had braces twice in my life. I’ve had the last braces off for 7 years now. My teeth tend to shift fast, partly due to bone density issues holding teeth. If I don’t wear my retainer all day, it is tight putting back on. What will stabilize my teeth better, a Hawley or Essix retainer? I worry about my front teeth protruding again and have only worn a Hawley retainer.

    Thanks much!

    1. Hi. If you like the position of your teeth, I’d suggest an essix retainer over a hawley. It is more comfortable, more esthetically pleasing and can hold the teeth a little better.

  88. Hi Dr. Thompson,
    I got braces without extractions because my mother would not allow them, and the orthodontist said it would be fine, that I’d just have a slight overjet. Well now I do, along with some very mild crowding, and it’s about 2-2.5mm, but my top and bottom from teeth don’t touch! I can’t bite into thin things. Will this cause any problems in the future as my teeth try to meet in the front? Isn’t this result extremely unstable? I was 12 and a half and I had them for 8 months.

    1. Hi, Stability in the occlusion is created by a number of factors. One of which is the amount of bone available for the size of your teeth. You are young and still growing and bone can be created by expansion of the alveolar bone. Your orthodontist can still talk to your mother about possible extractions and that may increase stability long term in the occlusion. The closure of the space may also allow for a better overjet and overbite. Definitely bring this issue up with your orthodontist.

  89. My permanent retainer broke over a year ago no, and has slowly been breaking more and more. Am I going to need to get braces again or can my orthodontist just fix my retainer?

    1. Hi. If you see your orthodontist soon, you will be able to get your retainer fixed and possibly no other treatment will be needed.

  90. Hi,
    I’m 21 months into adult treatment…I had an adjustment and the doc switched my band configuration to “box” formation right over the front four or six teeth. However, the rubberband over the top teeth is digging into my gums and has left a visible line or imprint where it sits. Is it ok to put the rubberband under the bracket to keep it from rubbing on my gums? Will this affect the purpose of the configuration? I just can’t see any good coming from this esp if he wants me to wear them 18-22hrs a day. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Instead of wearing the elastic in a box pattern, you could ask your orthodontist if it is ok to wear them in a figure eight. It will apply the same pressure and eliminate the elastic rubbing your gum tissue.

    1. Hi. There is no home remedy to remove the adhesive. You can damage your teeth or your gum tissue, if you try. It is very strong and needs to be removed by your orthodontist or general dentist.

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