Vain...and yet cheap and lazy
November 19, 2005 2:43 PM   Subscribe

After having my wisdom teeth removed, one of my previously braces-straightened teeth has turned out a bit. Man, does this bug me.

I'm aware it isn't very noticeable to anyone but me. My boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy when I said I wanted to get it fixed. My dentist, of course, noticed it and pointed out that I should think about going to the orthodontist next door to get it fixed. He refused to give me details on what I would need to have done.

Does anyone have any experience with really minimal orthodonics work like this? Would I really have to get a full top set of braces to fix one tooth that has slightly tilted to an angle? Is it possible to talk someone into issuing me a retainer for something like this, or perhaps just get brackets on a couple of teeth? I'm really reluctant to get braces put on for a second time and now as an adult, much less throw out the cash for the whole shebang.

(Unless anyone has a good suggestion otherwise, I will be using my referral to the orthodontist to get an assessment/estimate. I'm just wondering what to expect so I don't get sticker-shock.)
posted by divka to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
Do you, by any chance, still have your retainers from your post-braces period? I wore braces from age 20-25, and now some...uh...twenty years later, I still wear the retainers from time to time just to make sure things stay reasonable. Even if they're really tight, wearing them for a few nights can get things back on track. BTW, after all this time I'm starting to get a small Arnie-gap between my front top teeth that even the retainers won't corral and it's driving me nuts.
posted by DawnSimulator at 3:18 PM on November 19, 2005

IANAOrthodontist; however, if the shifting is not too severe, I'd think you could get a retainer to straighten it out. After several years of braces and several more of wearing a retainer, I stopped wearing my retainer without the approval of my orthodontist. My dentist told me he'd keep an eye out for any shifting, in case I needed to go back to wearing a retainer. He never mentioned that I could possibly need to go back to full braces. I think the shifting would have to be extreme for braces to be required again. Yes, definitely see an orthodonist if it's worrying you and/or your dentist. But I say don't be too worried about needing full braces again. Your teeth may vary.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 3:19 PM on November 19, 2005

I unfortunately don't have my old retainer, but these posts give me hopes that I might be able to lobby for a new one as an alternative to braces. I'm worried about getting the "hard sell" for braces, if you know what I mean.
posted by divka at 3:22 PM on November 19, 2005

I was in a bicycle accident when I was a kid and ended up with my top front two teeth knocked back to the roof of my mouth (but still in at the roots, luckily!). I just wore a retainer for six months or so and everything was fine. I think that wearing a retainer instead of braces is actually fairly common, and your orthodontist should be willing to do that.

As a side note, if the orthodontist pushes the braces too much, maybe it's time to get a different orthodontist. Medical professionals shouldn't push a procedure upon a patient just to get a bit more money. It's not ethical, in my opinion.
posted by Trinkers at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2005

This happened to me and at first I was really concerned I was going to need braces again. If it really bothers you, talk to an orthodontist and see what can be done about it for how much.
posted by xammerboy at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2005

I'm a dental assistant, but not in orthodontic practice. I would use the reference to gather information, that is what the initial appointment is for. Your regular dentist may have an idea what the orthodontist will do, but it isn't his place to speak for the orthodontist.

You may be able to be treated very minimally with a retainer appliance, or Invisilign. But it isn't out of order if you are told you need an entire arch of brackets and wires. Moving and rotating one tooth cannot be done with just the teeth adjacent to the tooth in question.

Think of it like this: Two men are standing on ice, one of them is trying to turn the other man 45 degrees and move him one foot away. What happens? They both wind up on their butts on the ice. Now add another man standing on solid ground holding the man that's being moved. He cannot support the weight of both of the men on ice, he also is pulled to the ground. Add a couple of men on either side of the men on ice and your task is made possible.
posted by Jazz Hands at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2005

Are you worried soley about the looks or also the feel? If it's the later, you'll get used to it after a while so long as it doesn't cause further mouth problems.
posted by jmd82 at 7:06 PM on November 19, 2005

IANAO, but both of my parents are dental professionals. Occasional use of an old retainer (as suggested by others here) is actually bad for your teeth, because when you let the teeth settle to one place but then push them back someplace else with the retainer, you're weakening the permanent structures that hold the teeth in place. Or something like that. You really should see an orthodontist.
posted by intermod at 8:48 PM on November 19, 2005

I unfortunately don't have my old retainer

NOOO! As someone who had to go through the (expensive) ordeal of braces twice, and could probably use a third time, I have only this piece of advice: wear your fucking retainer! If you don't have it any more because you threw it away, you'll have to go to an orthodontist and have them fix you up with a new one that fits your current (very slightly out-of-whack) mouth structure. If you want to go back to perfection, I'm afraid you'll probably need braces again. Get a retainer to at least preserve the current straightness.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:21 AM on November 20, 2005

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