So you just started orthodontic treatment and your teeth are starting to feel a little loose. Rest assured, this is completely normal and typically a sign that your teeth have started shifting toward their ideal positions. Seattle-area orthodontist Richard Chan Orthodontics wants you to feel confident in your braces or Invisalign® treatment so we’re here to talk about how your teeth feel and what it means.
So How Do Braces and Invisalign Straighten Teeth?
To understand why your teeth feel loose from braces and Invisalign, we’ll start by answering, “How do braces and Invisalign work?” Let’s turn to the science behind your teeth shifting — a process called “bone remodeling.”
Teeth are attached to your jawbone by your periodontal ligaments. Braces (and Invisalign) work to shift teeth using a continuous force that compresses these periodontal ligaments on one side and stretches the ligaments on the other side. Cells called osteoclasts break down the bone on the compressed side and cells called osteoblasts begin building bone on the stretched side that form around teeth and secure them in their new spots.
Bone remodeling with orthodontic treatment is a continuous process that takes time, which is why your teeth can feel loose. Once your teeth have stopped shifting and sit in their final spots, your periodontal ligaments will tighten back up, securing your teeth in place with the help of an orthodontic retainer; you won’t feel like your teeth are loose anymore.
Braces and Invisalign rely on your body’s natural bone remodeling response. It actually happens in the rest of your body throughout your lifetime in an effort to maintain the structural integrity of your bones and optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus. The difference with orthodontic bone remodeling is that the process is guided by a precise treatment plan an expert orthodontist like Dr. Chan has designed to safely encourage the break down and build up of bone material.
An Orthodontic Retainer Secures Your Smile
After your orthodontic appliance has done its job and your teeth are aligned into your new smile, Dr. Chan will recommend wearing a retainer. An orthodontic retainer is an essential part of the orthodontic process and custom-made for each patient. They come in removable or fixed options, however, many patients prefer the removable kind for ease of eating and oral hygiene.
At Richard Chan Orthodontics, we use our own 3D printer to create our patients’ removal clear retainers. Typically, you’ll wear your retainer full-time for the first month after treatment and then gradually transition to nighttime-only wear. This period is crucial for allowing the bone and soft oral tissues the time they need to adapt fully and sit securely in their new spots.
Without A Retainer After Invisalign or Braces, Teeth Want to Shift Back
“What?! Do teeth move after braces or Invisalign?” you ask. Well, teeth have a natural tendency to drift back to their original positions, especially in the time soon after active orthodontics are complete. You might even notice your teeth still feel a little loose from your braces or Invisalign before you move on to your retainer.
Diligent retainer wear is vital to preserving the hard work and investment you put into your smile results. By consistently wearing your retainer, you allow the bone and tissues to stabilize, ensuring your teeth remain straight and well-aligned for a lifetime.
Get Your Braces or Invisalign Questions Answered by A Washington and Alaska Orthodontist Who Cares
If you have any other questions about orthodontic treatment, Dr. Chan and his expert team are happy to help. Having won Seattle Met’s Top Dentist award for the ninth straight year, board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Richard Chan is well-regarded by colleagues for his expertise, high-tech approach, patient-centric care, and smile results. He also believes everyone deserves a beautiful, well-functioning smile and goes above and beyond to make orthodontics work for a variety of budgets.
Looking for a Bothell, Mill Creek, Monroe, WA, or Juneau, AK orthodontist? Schedule an appointment to get your dream smile at Richard Chan Orthodontics.