Many of us first got braces during our adolescence. As the years pass and our teeth shift and change, we often wonder, “Should I get braces again?”

An estimated 1 million adults in America have braces. For many of them, this is a case of getting braces again.

We know that getting braces isn’t a decision to be made lightly. While the technology has advanced and the benefits are hard to beat, it’s understandable to make that choice only when necessary. So, how do you know if getting braces again is the best choice for you?

We’re going to talk about six signs that you might have to get braces again. Read on to see if a second round of braces is the right thing to do.

1. You Have New Gaps

One of the primary issues that braces can correct is gaps between teeth. When you first had your braces removed, you likely had no gaps between any of your teeth. Now, you might start to notice that new gaps are forming as your teeth shift over time. 

For some, gaps reappear more quickly than expected. This can occur when people don’t wear removable retainers for the recommended amount of time (any time you aren’t eating or drinking for the first 4 to 6 months after your braces are removed). 

2. You’re Experiencing Crowding

Overcrowding is a similar issue with opposite results. Rather than your teeth shifting away from each other, as they do with gapping, they shift closer to one another.  

Overcrowding is a good indication that you may need braces again because it can create a number of issues. Teeth that overlap can start to wear down and make oral health practices like flossing more difficult. 

3. You Have Gum Disease

Gum disease is marked by a number of symptoms including bleeding after brushing, red or swollen gums, and gum receding. Gum disease can require a variety of dental treatments in order to address existing problems and prevent worsening problems. Gum disease may also lead to the need for a second round of braces.

Why is this the case? When your gums aren’t healthy, they don’t provide the necessary support for your teeth. In severe cases, this can lead to tooth loss, but in others, it simply leads to shifting that can be corrected with braces.

4. You Have Jaw Pain 

Jaw pain is a big indicator that you need some sort of dental or orthodontic intervention. You may experience jaw pain when you chew and talk or it may be present at all times of the day. 

Jaw pain is often caused by a misalignment of the jaw. While braces aren’t the right solution for every person experiencing jaw pain (including those diagnosed with TMJ), they are often more helpful than you think. By realigning the teeth, you can also help to realign the jawbones so that there is less pain and pressure on the jaw joints.

5. You Experience Trouble Chewing or Speaking

This one falls in a similar category to jaw pain but it’s worth mentioning separately because some people experience these symptoms without also experiencing pain. If you find that it is becoming difficult to chew or speak, you should talk to an orthodontist about potential alignment problems.

What does trouble chewing or speaking look like? It could mean that you feel tightness or tension when you move your jaw. It could also manifest as a change in speech patterns like a new or returning lisp. 

6. You’ve Started to Hide Your Smile

Let’s face it. Everyone deserves to have a smile that they love. When you can smile freely, you can feel more confident and express joy without having to give it a second thought.

If, over the years, you’ve started to hide your smile, either behind your hand or by keeping your lips closed, think about the reasons why. In some cases, it could be caused by discoloration which you can address with the help of a dentist. In others, it could be caused by things like gaps, overlapping or crooked teeth, or misalignment. 

If you don’t like to let the world see your smile, it’s time to consider a solution. If braces would help you to love your smile again, then it’s time to find out how to get braces again by talking to your orthodontist.

Are There Alternatives to Consider?

If you read through this list and identified with one or more of the signs we’ve mentioned, you might be wondering about alternatives. To correct your orthodontic issues, do you have to get braces or can you try an alternative treatment method?

One potential option to consider is Invisalign. Invisalign is a treatment that straightens teeth and corrects other issues through the use of clear plastic trays. Invisalign users keep the trays (aka aligners) on for most hours of the day, removing them to eat, drink, and complete twice-daily oral health routines.

Keep in mind that Invisalign may not be the right alternative. Invisalign can’t correct every issue that braces can. You may also find that you prefer traditional braces over the Invisalign system.

Talk to Us About Getting Braces Again

If you believe that you have to get braces again, the first step is to talk to your orthodontist about your symptoms. Getting braces again isn’t as uncommon as you may think and it can reverse discomfort, improve oral health, and help you to love your smile again.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in the Billing Heights area, consider Bennion Lambourne Orthodontics. We have several offices in the region and work with patients of all ages to address orthodontic issues. To find out more or schedule a consultation, contact us today and let us know about your oral health.