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Orthodontic Treatment?

Why Do My Teeth Feel Loose During Orthodontic Treatment?

By Invisalign, Orthodontics, Teen Orthodontics No Comments

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.

6 Reasons to Start Orthodontic Treatment in Summer

6 Reasons to Start Orthodontic Treatment at Richard Chan Orthodontics This Summer

By Community, Dental Care, Invisalign, Orthodontics, Teen Orthodontics No Comments

We often think that fall is the best time to start new endeavors. But when it comes to starting braces or Invisalign, we think summer is an ideal time to start, especially for kids. Why? Here, the Richard Chan Orthodontics team shares 6 reasons to consider summer the best time for when to start orthodontic treatment.

  1. You’ll Have Routines Dialed-in By The Time School Starts 

Let’s be honest, whether braces treatment or the Invisalign® process, orthodontic treatment takes some getting used to. Summer’s slower, less scheduled days give you time to figure out the changes you need to make in your daily life because of your new braces or Invisalign. Come fall, you’ll have your routines down pat for appliance-friendly eating and excellent oral hygiene

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Summer’s Cold Treats to Soothe Discomfort

When you have braces or Invisalign, your teeth, gums, and jaws work hard to shift into their final positions. Experiencing a little oral pain or discomfort at times is part of your smile transformation. Cold, summer treats like fresh fruit smoothies, ice cream, or popsicles are a great way to soothe oral discomfort from braces or Invisalign treatment. Just remember to choose soft treats like ice cream without nuts or hard mix-ins if you have braces to avoid damaging them.

  1. Scheduling initial appointments is easier when you’re less busy

For many families, the school year can get pretty hectic. That’s why starting braces or Invisalign in the more relaxed season of summer is a great option. It can be less stressful and you can fit in your initial appointments without missing school, work, practices, or lessons.

  1. Save Money with Our Limited Time Braces or Invisalign Offer

This summer is prime time to start braces or Invisalign treatment because we’re offering affordable braces and Invisalign for as low as $129 per month. At Richard Chan Orthodontics, we’re all about making braces and Invisalign costs manageable for our patients because everyone deserves a healthy, functional, and beautiful smile.

  1. More Time To Feel Confident With Wearing Braces or Invisalign 

Braces have been around for a long time — and Invisalign started straightening smiles 25 years ago. So it’s fair to say that orthodontics isn’t so surprising anymore. That said, some patients — both adults and teens — appreciate some adjustment time before heading back into the full social demands of the fall. Summer offers prep time to help ease any initial self-consciousness and ensure a smoother social transition into the school year.

  1. Achieve Faster Progress and Results

Getting braces or Invisalign in the summer months can help you make significant progress right from the get-go. How? Less scheduling constraints and more mental space allows you to focus and stick to your treatment plan more diligently, like switching out your aligners at the right time or refreshing elastic bands as instructed. Paired with our use of innovative technology and techniques, you might find that a summer start contributes to more efficient and precise results.

Summer’s For Smiling With Richard Chan Orthodontics

If you’re ready to get Invisalign or braces this summer, Dr. Chan is your award-winning, Seattle-area and Juneau, AK orthodontist for high-quality orthodontic care and amazing outcomes. 

Contact us for an appointment this summer for Invisalign or braces at our Monroe, Bothell,  Mill Creek, WA or Juneau, AK office for personalized, affordable modern braces or Invisalign.

Invisalign Treatment

6 Things You Should Know Before Getting Invisalign

By Community, Dental Care, Invisalign, Orthodontics, Teen Orthodontics No Comments

Have you been thinking about getting Invisalign to straighten your smile? It’s definitely a great way to straighten and improve your teeth. In fact, 14 million people have experienced the benefits of Invisalign since it came on the market 25 years ago. But before you jump in with Invisalign treatment, Dr. Chan and the team at Richard Chan Orthodontics wants to share a few things you should know first about this clear aligner treatment. Here are 6 common things to think about when considering Invisalign.

  1. A Reputable Invisalign Doctor is Key

We’d argue that the most important step in the Invisalign process is finding a qualified and experienced Invisalign doctor. Look for an orthodontist who is certified by Invisalign and has a good reputation in your community. Not to toot our own horn here (okay, maybe a little) but our team recently won a SeattleMet Top Dentist Award for the ninth year in a row. Plus, Dr. Chan is a board certified orthodontist. So it’s safe to say getting Invisalign treatment with Dr. Chan will mean fantastic results!

  1. Eating is Easier with Invisalign vs. Braces

Invisalign offers several benefits over traditional braces but perhaps the biggest one? No food restrictions. You don’t have to change your eating habits to avoid foods that could break your appliance like you would with braces. Most orthodontists — including Dr. Chan — recommend you take your Invisalign trays out when you eat or when you drink anything other than water. 

You might even notice that you snack less during the Invisalign process. Since you need to keep your aligners in for at least 22 hours a day to ensure your teeth shift according to your treatment plan, your snacking game. It’s definitely a perk for improving your overall health in the long run.

  1. We Can Treat a Wide Range of Cases with Invisalign

A common question patients ask us is, “Am I a candidate for Invisalign?” These days, Invisalign is a good choice for many who want to improve their smile. In previous years, not everyone was a candidate for Invisalign treatment — it was typically best suited for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, such as crooked or crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, and minor bite problems. But today, what can Invisalign fix? Well, in the hands of an experienced Invisalign doctor like Dr. Chan, even complex cases can be treated with Invisalign. 

Your Bothell, Monroe, Mill Creek, WA, and Juneau, AK orthodontist will determine if you are a good candidate for getting Invisalign. During your consultation, Dr. Chan will evaluate your teeth and gums, take X-rays of your teeth, and review your dental history to determine if Invisalign is right for you.

  1. Invisalign is Effective When You Stick to Your Treatment Plan

As we mentioned, getting Invisalign from an experienced orthodontist plays a big part in the success of your treatment. The other factor is you! Your aligners can only shift your teeth into place precisely and on schedule if you wear them according to your treatment plan.

As mentioned earlier, you should wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours a day, only taking them out to eat, drink anything other than water, brushing and flossing, or if you’re wearing a mouthguard when playing sports. Then make sure you always switch your trays to the next set as prescribed, and see Dr. Chan for your progress check-ins as scheduled.

  1. Keeping Your Clear Aligners Clean During Invisalign Treatment Will Keep Your Progress On Track

Good oral care is vital during Invisalign treatment. Why? Because conversely, oral health issues like cavities and gum disease can disrupt your orthodontic treatment, delaying your progress while you wait for fillings or gum disease treatment. To make sure your oral health is 100% while Invisalign straightens your teeth, make sure you:

  • Take out Invisalign when you eat or drink anything other than water
  • Brush your teeth before you put aligners back in
  • Stick to a thorough oral hygiene routine
  • Clean your clear aligners every day with a toothbrush (no toothpaste) and deep clean with Invisalign crystals halfway through the week 
  1. Losing Your Clear Aligners Can Delay the Invisalign Process

Super important: when your aligners aren’t in your mouth, store them in their case. It’s not uncommon for aligners to go missing because they’ve been put in a napkin or a cup and then forgotten. Losing a set of aligners can delay your treatment — you might lose a few days while the replacement set is being made, giving your teeth the chance to start regressing to their original spots. But we get it; life happens! If you do misplace a set, call the office and Dr. Chan will instruct you on what to do.

If you think you or your child might misplace your Invisalign often, we suggest weighing the practicality of Invisalign vs. braces for your lifestyle. For many adult orthodontic patients, keeping track of their Invisalign clear aligners is a breeze. But for younger patients, an active lifestyle might mean keeping track of aligners is a challenge. Some teens actually prefer braces anyway, because they can choose the color of the elastic ties to suit their personality, the seasons, or their mood.

Getting Invisalign with Your Seattle-area Orthodontist

Now that you know a few of the high points to think about when considering Invisalign treatment, come visit your expert Invisalign doctor in Bothell, Monroe, Mill Creek, WA, and Juneau, AK. Dr. Chan can help you answer the question, “Am I a candidate for Invisalign?” and if you are, we can help you move forward with clear aligners and get the perfect smile you’ve always wanted.

Contact Richard Chan Orthodontics for your free initial appointment to get started!


SeattleMet Top Dentist Award 2015-2023

Richard Chan Orthodontics Wins 2023 Seattle Met Top Dentist for 9th Straight Year

By Community, Dental Care, Invisalign, Orthodontics, Teen Orthodontics No Comments

It’s nice to be recognized for a job well done. And even better? Receiving recognition year after year. For the team at Richard Chan Orthodontics, 2023 marks nine years in a row winning a SeattleMet Top Dentist award.

What is the SeattleMet Top Dentist Award?

The SeattleMet Top Dentist award is an annual, peer-selected achievement. In other words, Dr. Richard Chan and his team have received recognition of their dental colleagues for outstanding work in orthodontics and patient care. 

Every year, SeattleMet partners with national survey company Top Dentists, which sends ballots to local, active dentists listed with the American Dental Association (ADA), dental academies and societies. These recipients in King, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Pierce counties can nominate peers within these organizations, as well as those who aren’t. 

What are the Nomination Criteria?

The magazine asks, “If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?” Presented with the names of nearby practitioners, each voting dentist considers:

  • Experience
  • Professional development
  • Adoption of new techniques and technologies
  • Physical outcomes

After responses are compiled, the magazine takes the names of the highest-rated nominees and cross-references each name with the Washington State Department of Health to check for a clean disciplinary record, active licensing, and good standing. Since 2015, Dr. Richard Chan Orthodontics has risen to the top, consistently earning a spot on the SeattleMet Top Dentist list.

What Makes Richard Chan Orthodontics Stand Out

Dr. Richard Chan and his team strive to provide informed, stress-free braces and Invisalign® treatment for patients of all ages — for a lifetime of healthy, functional teeth that look amazing, too. A tech-lover, Dr. Chan uses the latest orthodontic technology to straighten teeth safer, faster, and more comfortably. He offers beautiful outcomes with modern metal, ceramic, and self-ligating braces and is a 2022 Platinum+ Invisalign Provider, a designation for orthodontists with a high level of proficiency and experience with Invisalign. 

Dr. Chan’s bright and modern offices in Bothell, Monroe, or Mill Creek, WA, and Juneau, AK are designed with patient comfort in mind. 

About Dr. Richard Chan

Dr. Richard Chan understands that many people want a straight, functional smile but can’t afford it, but he believes that everyone deserves a healthy smile they’re proud to show off. So as a certified specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, Dr. Chan is on a mission to make high-quality orthodontic treatment work for every patient’s specific needs, lifestyle and budget

This Washington and Juneau, AK orthodontist is a board-certified member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, and the Washington State Dental Association, and engages in continuing education to provide patients with leading-edge service. Whether you have misaligned teeth, a crossbite, overbite, or underbite, Dr. Chan can help you achieve a fantastic, new smile.

Teeth grinding guard for braces

Can I Get Braces or Invisalign® if I Grind My Teeth?

By Invisalign, Orthodontics No Comments

Teeth grinding or clenching, technically called bruxism, is common. If you’re one of the millions of people with bruxism, you might be wondering if you can still get braces or Invisalign. Will teeth grinding wear your aligners out? Will you be able to find a teeth grinding guard for braces? In this post, our Juneau, AK and Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA orthodontist, Dr. Richard Chan, will be going over everything you need to know about bruxism and orthodontic treatment. 

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

There are two types of bruxism: awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. With awake bruxism, you unconsciously clench or grind your teeth while you’re awake. Clenching and grinding teeth in sleep is known as sleep bruxism. 

As for what causes teeth grinding, experts believe it can be due:

  • Stress, anxiety, anger or frustration (awake bruxism is often tied to emotions)
  • Genetics (sleep bruxism tends to run in families)
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
  • Certain medications
  • Substances (i.e., caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products, etc.)
  • Health conditions, including GERD, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and ADHD
  • Misaligned teeth and bite problems

Complications of Bruxism

Most people don’t need treatment for awake bruxism or occasional, mild sleep bruxism. If you’re chronically grinding your teeth in sleep, on the other hand, it should be treated, because it can cause:

  • Excessive wear of the enamel
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Damaged dental restorations
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and pain
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty sleeping

According to Cedars Sinai, many people don’t realize they are grinding their teeth during sleep until a sleep partner mentions it, they wake up with sore facial muscles and stiffness, or a dentist notices certain wear patterns on the teeth. 

Can You Wear Invisalign if You Grind Your Teeth?

Yes, most patients can get Invisalign if they grind their teeth. Chronic teeth grinding with Invisalign could cause the aligners to wear down more quickly. However, since you only wear each set of aligners for one to two weeks, by the time you’re in need of a replacement, you’ll usually be on to your next tray. 

There are rare occasions where someone’s bruxism is so severe that they would wear out their aligners before it was time to change them. In these cases, we will ask Invisalign to give us two sets of each aligner, or getting braces could be the better option. But one advantage of Invisalign is that while you might be grinding your trays down, at least you won’t be grinding your teeth down!

What About Braces and Teeth Grinding?

Yup, you can get braces if you grind your teeth. As we mentioned above, occasionally, braces could be preferable to Invisalign for patients with severe bruxism. 

Will Braces or Invisalign Help With Teeth Grinding?

Whether or not braces or Invisalign can help with teeth grinding depends on what’s causing your bruxism. Bruxism is more prevalent in people with misaligned teeth and, if that’s the case for you, then aligning your teeth with orthodontic treatment will help to reduce the behavior. 

If you grind your teeth when you’re awake, Invisalign aligners can serve as a reminder, making you more aware of the habit. This too can be beneficial for reducing or stopping grinding and clenching. 

It’s important to note though that for some orthodontic patients, teeth grinding gets worse before it gets better. The mild sensitivity that occurs when you start treatment, as well as the shifting of your teeth, can temporarily increase grinding and clenching.  For this same reason sometimes the bruxism will decrease at the beginning of the treatment, as the increase in sensitivity will cause an automatic feedback to stop grinding the teeth.  

Can Invisalign Be Used as a Night Guard?

When it comes to how to stop teeth grinding, a multi-disciplinary approach is often best. Managing the underlying cause of your teeth grinding is important, whether it’s treating a health condition or finding new ways to cope with stress. Additionally, a lot of people also benefit from a special mouth guard for teeth grinding, called a night guard. The appliance helps cushion against the biting or clenching forces to prevent damage to the teeth and jaw. 

If you’re straightening your teeth, can Invisalign be used as a night guard? During your treatment, yes, Invisalign can be used as a night guard to a certain extent. You can’t wear a night guard instead of your aligners because you need to wear your aligners for about 22 hours per day for optimal results. Your aligners are actually pretty similar in design to a night guard and will provide some cushion between the upper and lower teeth. 

Can I Get a Teeth Grinding Guard for Braces?

Since braces don’t cover the entire arch of teeth like aligners do, you can still wear a night guard during your braces treatment. In fact, wearing one will be in your best interest if your bruxism is severe and likely to damage your teeth, jaw and/or appliance. 

Keep in mind that your teeth will shift throughout your braces treatment. This means you’ll have to change your night guard so that it continues to fit. When choosing a teeth grinding guard for braces, a boil-and-bite or custom orthodontic guard will be the most affordable options. With an over-the-counter, boil-and-bite night guard, you can simply make a new one as needed. A custom orthodontic guard will account for your appliance and allow for the movement of the teeth, so you won’t have to constantly replace it. 

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation at Richard Chan Orthodontics Today!

If you clench or grind your teeth and want to learn more about your orthodontic treatment options, schedule a complimentary consultation at our Juneau, AK or Bothell, Mill Creek or Monroe, WA orthodontics office. Dr. Chan will perform a comprehensive exam and assess your diagnostic records in order to provide you with personalized treatment recommendations that will bring out the best in your smile.