My 20 year old daughter had her braces removed in May. her anterior teeth still wiggle a bit, less than 1mm. Is this normal? Also, her gums became very puffy with the braces and her dentist removed some of the puffy gum tissue. What is the normal approach to puffy gums with braces?
Teeth Wiggle After Braces, Is this Normal?
Doctor Answers (3)
Prolonged tooth mobility is not normal
The primary thing that comes to mind is a traumatic bite of the anterior teeth. What I mean by this basically is the anterior teeth hit first and harder than anywhere else. As you bite and chew they are always taking a beating. A good way to easily test for this is to bite lightly together, put a finger on the two front teeth (if they are the ones in question) and see if they move when you squeeze harder. If so, this is the problem. This can happen for a number of reasons I won't go into. But if that is the case, it needs to be addressed as it indicates the bone around the teeth is weak and will never get better as long as there is trauma. Solutions might include, mild movement of the lower teeth inwards using retainers, slight contouring of the edges of the lower teeth, re-treatment with braces - all depending on the severity of it. There are other potential causes addressed by Dr. Jorensen to look at as well, especially in light of the gum issues you mentioned. The root issues would be quite rare, but certainly possible.
Gum puffiness and teeth movement
We typically see gum inflammation after wearing braces for a period of time. This is due to the gums reaction to the braces and also the inability to floss and brush as well. We like to recommend a good water irrigation device such as the hydrofloss during braces to help minimize the gum inflammation. The gums usually heal well once the braces are removed and the puffiness should go down to normal in several weeks. Slight tooth movement is also within normal limits after braces and it is critical to wear your retainer as directed while the teeth are establishing a more secure position. Usually it can be 24 hours for 3 months and then nightly thereafter, but make sure you follow your orthodontists specific instructions.
Teeth Wiggle (are mobile) After Braces
In order for teeth to move, the bone around them must "dissolve" and then reform. This normally takes a month or two. It is normal for the teeth feel lose for the first little while after the braces come off, but not for an extended period of time. If your teeth seem to be staying loose longer than seems reasonable, you should have your orthodontist evaluate you for 1) traumatic occlusion where one or more teeth are just hitting too hard, 2) periodontal disease, or 3) damage to the roots of the teeth or the surrounding bone during treatment. Any of these three conditions could explain the persistent mobility
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