At a recent checkup my regular dentist commented that my teeth are looser than is considered normal, but he couldn't see any obvious cause (I have very good dental health and am 34 yrs old). I mentioned that I've worn retainers at night for 20 years following extensive orthodontic work as a child, and that my teeth move quite a bit each day until I put the retainers back in at night (at which point they move back). My dentist recommended I see an orthodontist about this.
I've met with two orthodontists (wanted two opinions). The first didn't comment on the teeth movement, just said my bite looked great and she could make me new retainers if I wanted them. The second orthodontist recommended I stop wearing my retainers for a few weeks to let the teeth shift to where they wanted to settle, then have new retainers made. He didn't much discuss the original concern of my teeth being kinda loose. I'm hesitant to go retainer-less because when I've tried this in the past for 2-3 days at a time my teeth seem to move a lot and end up in positions that aren't comfortable for my bite. Luckily I've always been able to cram my retainers back in to fix the problem, but I don't want to end up back in braces unnecessarily.
So my questions are...
- Are loose teeth a serious problem that I should be concerned about? Why or why not?
- Is it likely or unlikely that my loose teeth are caused by wearing retainers that move my teeth around each night?
- In your opinion (I know this is a tough one) is it a good or bad idea to stop wearing retainers and let my teeth "settle" into a new position?
Thanks in advance for your help!!
The fact that your teeth are loose is a problem. Generally teeth can shift a bit, but the looseness can worsen, letting them drift, in my opinion, is not a good idea. A fixed retainer,a cemented wire placed behind the loose teeth should help them to stay in place and not need to be re-shifted each night with a removable retainer.
You may also be grinding, and that also causes tooth looseness. A thin nightguard should probably be worn once the fixed retainers are placed.
Have the dentist check for wear in other teeth, and make sure your teeth are probed to check for pockets twice per year at least.