Frequently Asked Questions
Which concentration of whitening should I choose?
If your teeth are sensitive to cold or hot water in your daily activites it is best to choose our kit for sensitive teeth which has 15% concentration of Carbamide Peroxide. You will still experience a brighter smile but will reduce the risk of increased tooth sensitivity. If you do not have a any sensitivity to cold then choose the standard kit with 35% Carbamide Peroxide. Always follow the instructions for whitening on the back of your kit and error toward less time to reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity. All kits include desensitizing gel to help heal and remineralize teeth after whitening.
Are my teeth moving?
Adult teeth tend to continually move over a lifetime. This movement occurs because of the many forces placed on teeth from everyday chewing as well as from forces placed on the teeth by muscles and abnormal actions such as clenching and grinding. Studies show that teeth slowly and continually drift towards the front of the mouth over a lifetime in the vast majority of adults and the usual result is crowding of the front teeth, especially the lower front teeth. People previously treated orthodontically can also experience changes over time.
Studies show the dental arches get narrower and teeth want to move back toward their position prior to orthodontic treatment. These movements are often slow in the beginning and then people report that “all of a sudden they started moving a lot!”. In actuality, the teeth were always slowly shifting, when the front teeth become crowded and rotated enough, the contacts of the teeth shifted past one another, now the teeth have space to move much more freely. This is when people notice bigger changes in their teeth due to this increased crowding and rotations. This unwanted movement can be prevented by sleeping in a clear retainer at night
Will shifting teeth cause problems with my teeth later?
No one knows how much or over what period of time your teeth will shift. When teeth move away from their ideal aligned position, or the position they erupted into, many potential problems arise. Crowded and rotated teeth are more difficult to clean and tend to be more susceptible to bacterial attack on the teeth and gums. This can eventually lead to tooth decay, infection in the gums (gingivitis) and bone (periodontitis) which can lead to costly dental work and the eventual loss of teeth. Any infection in the body is dangerous and can spread to other parts of the body as well. This shifting of teeth can also negatively affect the subjects bite (occlusion) which can lead to abnormal wear and damage to the teeth and potential arthritic changes in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ).
I am happy with my teeth and smile but notice some small changes, can I stop this shifting?
The great news is that studies show that the majority of people can stop this negative movement by simply sleeping in a clear orthodontic retainer at night. These retainers also serve to protect the teeth from minor clenching and grinding that often occur in stressful times when we sleep. In addition, these retainers can be used as bleaching trays for whitening the teeth.
CLEAR RETAINERS WILL NOT STRAIGHTEN YOUR TEETH BUT INSTEAD JUST MAINTAIN THE TEETH IN THEIR CURRENT POSITION!
How do the retainers work?
In the beginning, we will send you an at home impression kit with instructions on how to capture a perfect impression of your teeth. Don’t worry, it is not difficult! It is very important to get an ideal impression so Retainers direct can make a perfect model of your teeth. From these models, Retainers Direct will fabricate beautiful, clear and comfortable retainers that fit intimately around your teeth. Remember, these retainers will simply hold your teeth where they are and prevent further movement. They will not straighten your teeth!
How many hours per day do I have to wear the retainer to keep my teeth from moving?
This is a tricky question because everyone is different. Some people’s teeth have a tendency to move faster than others and a few very fortunate people’s teeth may not move at all. The great news is it is simple to adjust your wearing habits to meet your individual needs. The retainers conform to each individual tooth and fit snugly but passively on the teeth. If slight movement occurs while not wearing the retainers than those retainers will feel tight (because the teeth moved slightly) when placed back on the teeth. If this movement is very small the retainer will move the teeth back to their initial position and the retainers will become passive again. Ideally, we want you to wear the retainers enough time to keep the teeth from moving and allow the retainers to always be passive (not actively moving teeth but instead just holding them). For most people 6-8 hours per night is sufficient to keep teeth from moving.
What if my teeth have already moved and I wish to improve my alignment and/or bite?
Orthodontic movement of teeth is much different than simply holding teeth in their current position. It is very important to see an Orthodontic Specialist if you are unhappy with your smile and bite. Proper diagnosis and individual treatment planning is crucial to achieving a beautiful smile and functional bite that will last over time. An Orthodontic Specialist, usually just called an Orthodontist, completes a 2-3 year advanced education, after dental school, that concentrates on proper movement and alignment of teeth as well as guiding the teeth together so they fit and function ideally.
Can I whiten my teeth using my new clear retainers?
Absolutely, our clear retainers are ideal for at home whitening and Retainers Direct is proud to offer several options to brighten your smile. Alightener Foam is brand new product that is both a tooth whitener and retainer cleaner and disinfectant. This product is ideal for people with very sensitive teeth and as a “touch up” to keep your teeth white and your retainers bright. Retainers Direct also offers a whitening kit that includes four syringes of whitening gel and two syringes of desensitizing gel. This kit is ideal to drastically lighten your teeth in the comfort of your own home. The whitening agent is Carbamide Peroxide and is offered in two strengths, 15% and 35%, depending on your teeth’s sensitivity.