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Orthodontics/Swollen gums and retainer


Shannon wrote at 2012-06-29 13:30:35
I just got my braces off and my gums are swollen.  They also look white in the retainer.  The Orthodontist told me that this is normal.

Willow wrote at 2013-02-23 04:07:43
Having braces twice and having observed three of your children in braces does not give you the necessary insight to submit such a definitive answer. Retainers can and do cause swelling of the gums. I am one such example. I have been wearing my Essix retainers diligently and as directed for the past 5 years since I have had my braces removed. For the past year, my Essix retainers have been cutting into my gums, causing recession in some areas and severe swelling and inflammation in others. Talk to your orthodontist. He can trim back your retainers so that they are not resting on your gums. However, Essix retainers can cause gum irritation even if they are trimmed. If your teeth are prone to shifting, they may move slightly when you are not wearing your retainers. When you place your retainers back on, the teeth will be shifted back. This constant movement may eventually cause gum irritation and can also weaken gum ligaments and cause permanent damage to the nerve roots of the teeth. Also, Essix retainers can cause the enamel of the teeth to soften if worn continuously for a long period of time. The saliva is responsible for the remineralization of the teeth bone, and if your teeth are constantly covered by plastic, the enamel may become soft and this can eventually lead to bone loss and irritated or recessed gums. Take it from me, Essix retainers are not the way to go in the long run, and if you do need to wear them, wear them only at night in conjunction with permanent retainers. Permanent retainers are a much better choice, and if kept clean, will not cause gum irritation or recession and will ensure that your teeth remain stationary and  beautiful, just like they were on the day your braces were removed.


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Pamela Waterman


I can supply tips, hints, recipes and resources about a braces-friendly lifestyle, for parents of children and teens in braces as well as for adults in braces. Although I am not a medical/dental professional, I have colleagues in the field and will do my best to point you to additional resources.


I am the author of two specialty award-winning cookbooks of soft-food recipes and tips targeted to all ages of braces-wearers (including adults) and give workshops to dental hygienists to help them help their patients with this type of information. I have worn braces both as a teen and as an adult, and am from a family of three generations of braces patients. I regularly contribute information to the public website of the American Association of Orthodontists and Orthotown magazine.

Women in Orthodontics, American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, Independent Book Publishers Association, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Orthotown, Cricket, Family Fun, Highlights, Better Homes and Gardens Kids' Rooms, Chicago Tribune, East Valley Tribune (Phoenix AZ), Healthy Alternatives, Organic & Natural, Desktop Engineering, Machine Design

BS Astrophysics, MS Radio Astronomy/Electrical Engineering

Awards and Honors
Good Parenting Award from Glyph Award - Best Cookbook, Arizona Book Publishing Association Finalist Glyph Award - Best Cookbook, Arizona Book Publishing Association Finalist - Next Generation Indie Books, Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group

Past/Present Clients
American Association of Orthodontists, Smile for a Lifetime

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