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Are My Teeth Supposed to Be Loose with Braces?

two girls holding fake teeth at the orthodontist

One of the top questions for orthodontic patients in Richmond, VA is “Do your teeth become loose with braces?”

It’s not uncommon to feel like you have loose teeth with braces. When you feel teeth moving with braces, it’s a good sign that your orthodontic treatment is working properly.

If you have braces and have ever thought, “I have braces, and my tooth is loose,” keep reading.

We’re diving into the process of moving teeth with braces and helping answer questions like:

  • Can braces make your teeth loose?
  • Do braces make your teeth loose?
  • Why do my teeth feel loose with braces?
  • Are my teeth supposed to be loose with braces?

Ready to learn all about why your teeth might feel loose when you have braces?

Let’s dive in!

What is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is the process of moving, straightening, and aligning teeth professionally. Trained orthodontists perform orthodontic procedures using two main methods: 

  1. Braces
  2. Invisalign 

Braces are the traditional wire method of straightening teeth, and Invisalign is a newer option that uses mouthguard-like trays placed over your teeth. The goal of either method is to shift teeth into correct alignment in your mouth.

Orthodontic treatment can start as early as age seven to help fix spacing issues and help adult teeth come in (erupt) properly. This early treatment (called Phase 1 orthodontics) often lasts 9-12 months and isn’t always necessary. 

More commonly, orthodontic treatment will occur in the pre-teen years once all of a child’s adult teeth have erupted. A typical treatment can last anywhere from 1-2 years but is dependent on each unique situation and needs.

Recently, adults have become interested in straighter teeth, and Invisalign has become a popular option (though it’s also used for kids). 

Regardless of your age and method used, orthodontic treatment is the way to a straighter, more confident smile.

But how do braces work and why does it sometimes feel like you have loose teeth with braces?

How Do Braces Work?

Braces are an orthodontic appliance used to straighten teeth. 

The term “braces” includes the metal brackets cemented on the front of teeth and the wire (archwire) that runs through those brackets. Brackets hold the wire in place, and the wire is used to create tension and put pressure on the teeth. This pressure moves teeth from their original position into a slightly different position. Each time you see your orthodontist, they’ll adjust the wire in a way that helps your teeth move into the correct position.

To move teeth, orthodontists:

  • Put pressure on your teeth to push them in one direction by stretching and compressing your tooth’s periodontal ligament (the ligament that holds the tooth in place). 
  • The side of the tooth that receives the pressure is pushed. 
  • The side of the tooth that doesn’t receive pressure is stretched. 
  • On the stretched side, osteoblasts (bone-growing cells) go to work regrowing bone as your teeth move into a new position. 
  • On the side of the tooth that’s compressed, osteoclasts (bone-removing cells) begin breaking down bone to create a new space for the tooth to move into. 

This stretching and compressing of the periodontal ligament opens a wider space for the tooth to move into. Over months of putting pressure on teeth, bone is constantly broken down and rebuilt to accommodate the movement until correct alignment is achieved.

It’s this breaking down and building up of bone that holds the answer to, “Do your teeth become loose with braces?”

Why Do My Teeth Feel Loose with Braces?

Your teeth feel loose with braces because they technically are loose. But loose teeth with braces aren’t the same as loose baby teeth before they fall out.

With braces, your tooth remains securely attached to the periodontal ligament that’s connected to your jaw. The loose feeling results from the stretching and compressing of the tooth that’s creating a new, wider space for the tooth. Your tooth is still securely in place, and once the tooth is in its new position and the bone is rebuilt, your tooth won’t feel loose anymore.

So, can braces make your teeth loose? Yes, and they should make them at least a little loose.

But are loose teeth with braces something to worry about? No, not typically. When you feel teeth moving with braces, it’s a normal indication that the braces are doing their job.

Can Braces Make Your Teeth Fall Out?

Braces themselves cannot make your teeth fall out. As we mentioned above, a braces treatment works by moving teeth into a new position, requiring a normal amount of loosening. But braces won’t be a direct cause of teeth falling out. 

However, poor oral hygiene with braces can potentially lead to teeth falling out. Bad oral hygiene can cause gingivitis and gum disease, which can progress into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in turn can lead to less support around your tooth.  If unaddressed by a dentist or periodontist, this lack of support can contribute to a tooth falling out. Other times, tooth extraction is needed to clean the infected area and keep the decay from spreading to surrounding teeth. 

With braces, it’s important to keep your teeth clean and practice good oral hygiene. Your orthodontist and dentist will provide you with helpful tips and resources to keep your teeth and gums clean.

The Top Orthodontic Provider in Richmond, VA

Braces are a tried-and-true orthodontic process for straight teeth. The process involves attaching brackets to the front of teeth and running a metal wire through the brackets. This wire puts pressure on teeth causing them to move into their new position. As teeth move in your mouth, bone is actively being broken down and rebuilt. 

People with braces often feel like they have loose teeth, which can cause them to wonder, “Do your teeth become loose with braces?”

The pressure placed on teeth to help them move does technically make teeth slightly loose as the periodontal ligament is stretched. But this slight loosening isn’t anything to worry about. Once orthodontic treatment is complete, the bone will fully rebuild, and teeth won’t feel loose anymore. 

Braces are a safe procedure and won’t cause teeth to fall out. However, it’s possible to get gum disease with braces, so it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene during a braces treatment.

At Bates Orthodontics, we have a team of expert staff ready to help you understand your oral situation and what orthodontic treatment is best for you. Whether you’re a parent with a child around the age of seven or an adult over the age of 40, we’d be more than happy to talk with you. We desire to provide everyone with the opportunity to have the smile they’ve always wanted.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your current alignment desires and provide expert insight into potential treatment options.