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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist - Edward Leventhal Question:
I've had my braces on for 3 years. I was going to get them off then a tooth in the front shifted sideways. My orthodontist told me she'd watch it for another 2 months and if it hasn't shifted she'd finally take them off. Well, it's shifted back, I now have a perfect smile. But they're still on. I'm afraid the more I wait the more cavities I'll have, and then little squares will be on my teeth. I brush when I can, morning, noon, and night, but is there anything else I can do to prevent the squares? And what else is there to know about retainers? ...Stacy

Stacy, cavities only appear if your oral hygiene is not very good. You can brush long but you must brush properly, especially around the brackets. The squares that you mention that appear around the brackets could be from two things, discoloration of the glue or decalcification of your teeth (from poor brushing). As I mentioned, you can brush long and hard, but if you don't get around the braces, tiny bacteria can attack your teeth and you can have the lines that surround the square braces once your braces come off. The only thing you can improve is your brushing technique, that is if it hasn't decalcified already.

Retainers are often used to 'retain' or stabilize your teeth once your braces are removed. I often tell my patients to use retainers as long as they want their teeth straight. Remember, your teeth will move throughout your whole life, whether you had braces or not. The trick is to keep your teeth the way they are immediately after you had your braces removed.

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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