You’ve spent years in braces. Now several months after they’ve come off, you stopped wearing your retainer and you notice some crowding or spacing. You hope it doesn’t get worse but after several more months, notice more crowding and spacing.
Was it because you didn’t wear your retainer long enough? Probably not.
So why does crowding and spacing occur? It‘s because the reasons for the malocclusion were not corrected. During growth and development there is a delicate balance between the muscles, bone, and teeth. When the mouth and face muscles don’t function normally, they cause the bone to develop abnormally. This causes crowding and or spacing of the teeth, as well as abnormalities in facial appearance. If you want straight and stable teeth, and a pleasing facial appearance, then you need to have all the involved muscles working as nature intended.
There are multiple factors that cause abnormal muscle forces and therefore malocclusion. Respiratory problems such as chronically swollen tonsils and adenoids, nose polyps, a deviated septum, and allergies make it difficult to nose breath. This results in mouth breathing which prevents the tongue from exerting lateral forces on the palate. Therefore the upper and lower jaws under develop resulting in a skinny face. Habits such as tongue thrusting, pacifier usage, thumb and finger sucking push the upper teeth and jaw forward. If the tongue is firmly bound down, (the so called “tongue-tied” condition), it prevents the tongue from pushing against the teeth and jaw and thus restricts full development.
In order to allow for proper muscle, teeth and jaw development, respiratory problems must be corrected, a restricted tongue freed and the bad habits eliminated. When this is accomplished in a timely manner, your chances of a stable, straight occlusion are enhanced tremendously. At Delmarva Dental Services, we can see if there is a problem developing; in most cases by the age of 6 years and in some cases earlier. This approach has many benefits. In addition to straighter teeth, it creates a fuller smile and a better facial appearance. It may even eliminate the need for braces. Most importantly, when the causes for problems are identified and corrected, the teeth have a much better chance of remaining straight after the braces are gone.