What causes teeth to shift?
Teeth can shift for a variety of reasons, including:
Age: As you age, your teeth may shift slightly due to changes in the supporting structures of your teeth, such as the bones and ligaments in your mouth.
Genetics: Your genetics can play a role in the size and shape of your teeth and jaw, which can affect how your teeth fit together and whether they shift over time.
Tooth loss: When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth may shift to fill in the gap, which can cause misalignment and crowding.
Injury or trauma: Trauma to the mouth, such as a sports injury or accident, can cause teeth to shift or become misaligned.
Oral habits: Certain oral habits, such as thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, or prolonged pacifier use, can put pressure on the teeth and cause them to shift over time.
Orthodontic treatment: Sometimes teeth can shift after orthodontic treatment, especially if retainers are not worn as instructed or if proper follow-up care is not maintained.
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and see a dentist or orthodontist regularly to prevent and treat any tooth or jaw alignment issues. Early intervention and treatment can help to prevent more serious problems from occurring, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain.
Types of retainers
There are several different types of orthodontic retainers that your orthodontist may recommend, depending on your specific needs and treatment plan. Here are some of the most common types of orthodontic retainers:
Hawley Retainers: These are historically the most common type of removable retainer. They are made of a thin metal wire that runs across the front of your teeth, and a plastic or acrylic body that fits against the roof of your mouth or behind your lower front teeth.
Clear Retainers: These are currently the most popular type of retainers in our office, and are similar in shape to a clear aligner, such as Invisalign. They are made of a clear plastic material that fits over your teeth and are nearly invisible when worn.
Fixed Lingual Retainers (Bonded Retainers): These retainers are similar to bonded retainers, but they are bonded to the back of your teeth instead of the front. They are typically used to maintain the alignment of the lower front teeth.
Custom Night guards: These are clear, thermoplastic retainers that are made using a 3D scan or mold of your teeth. They are thicker than normal clear retainers and are usually used for patients who grind their teeth, or for patients who want to protect expensive dental work (such as crowns and veneers). Since they are custom made for your teeth, they will also prevent your teeth from moving or shifting.
There are pros and cons to each type of retainer so it is important to discuss all options with Dr. Bloom before deciding which type to choose. Let’s discuss those differences below:
Durable: Hawley retainers are generally durable and can last for several years with proper care.
Adjustable: The metal wire on a Hawley retainer can be adjusted by your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth stay in their proper position.
Removable: Hawley retainers are removable, which means that you can take them out for eating, brushing, and flossing.
Can be customized: The acrylic body of a Hawley retainer can be customized with different colors or designs to make it more personalized.
Can be visible: The metal wire on a Hawley retainer can be visible when you smile or speak, which may be a concern for some people.
Can be uncomfortable: The acrylic body of a Hawley retainer can sometimes cause discomfort or irritation against the roof of your mouth.
Requires regular cleaning: Hawley retainers need to be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and maintain oral hygiene. Efferdent tablets can be an excellent way of keeping your retainers clean.
Can be lost or broken: Since Hawley retainers are removable, there is a risk of losing or breaking them if they are not properly stored or handled.
Nearly invisible: Clear retainers are nearly invisible when worn, making them a good option for people who don't want their retainer to be noticeable.
Comfortable: The plastic material used to make clear retainers is generally more comfortable than the metal wire and acrylic used for other types of retainers.
Removable: Clear retainers are removable, which means that you can take them out for eating, brushing, and flossing.
Easy to clean: Clear retainers are easy to clean and maintain, as they can be brushed with a soft toothbrush and rinsed with water. Efferdent tablets are also an excellent way of keeping your retainers clean.
Less durable: Clear retainers are generally less durable than other types of retainers, such as Hawley retainers, and may need to be replaced more frequently.
Can be lost or broken: Since clear retainers are removable, there is a risk of losing or breaking them if they are not properly stored or handled.
May cause discomfort: Some people may experience discomfort or irritation from the plastic material used to make clear retainers, especially when they are first worn.
Less adjustable: Clear retainers are less adjustable than other types of retainers, such as Hawley retainers, which may make it more difficult to maintain proper tooth alignment over time.
Bonded Lingual Retainer
Effective: A bonded lingual retainer is highly effective at maintaining tooth alignment, as it is fixed in place and therefore is always working to control tooth position.
Nearly Invisible: Since a bonded lingual retainer is placed behind the teeth, it is virtually invisible when worn.
Permanent (mostly): A bonded lingual retainer is a permanent solution, which means that you don't have to worry about taking it out or losing it.
Initial discomfort: Some people may experience discomfort or irritation when a bonded lingual retainer is first placed, as it can take some time to get used to the feeling of having the wire behind your teeth.
Speech difficulties: A bonded lingual retainer may initially affect your speech, especially if it is bonded behind the upper teeth. Although most people adapt to it within a few days to a week.
Challenging to clean: A bonded lingual retainer can be challenging to clean, as it is fixed in place and difficult to access with a toothbrush or floss.
If your teeth have already shifted because you haven’t worn your retainers in a while, don’t worry! There are many options for correcting minor tooth movement without braces! Contact us today at (720) 743-0700 to schedule a complimentary consultation with the best orthodontist in Lone Tree, Dr. James Bloom. You’ll be surprised how affordable it is and how little time it will take to get your smile back on track.