You may be wondering if you really need to wear retainers after you get your braces off. The short answer is – YES!!
The longer answer… there was a time that orthodontists thought that if they could just put teeth in the exact right position, they would stay there forever. However, long term studies completed over the last 40 years have shown that this just isn’t the case. There is no “right” position that will guarantee your teeth won’t move. In fact, 70% of peoples’ teeth will shift during their lifetime – regardless of whether or not they had orthodontic treatment or when they had treatment. And you won’t know if you’re in the lucky 30% until it’s too late…
Full-time Retainers for 6 Months
Dr. Christenson & Dr. Oakley recommend that you wear your retainer full time for about 6 months after your braces come off. The bones and gum tissue around your teeth have a “memory” and will tend to move your teeth back to where they came from. The 6 month period gives them time to “reorganize” and get used to the new position of your teeth.
Nighttime for a Lifetime
Your body continues to change throughout your life, and that includes your teeth! As you get older, your front teeth will tend to upright (tip back toward your tongue). This will lead to crowding/overlapping of your front teeth. People used to think that the crowding was caused by wisdom teeth. Again, long term studies have been done and have shown that crowding tends to happen just as often in people with wisdom teeth as it does in those who never had wisdom teeth! While no retainer can guarantee that your teeth won’t move at all, but wearing retainers at night time will keep your smile looking great!
Check out this video about retainers from the American Association of Orthodontist!
We’re excited to start new office hours on Fridays starting in January 2020. On Fridays we will be open from 7:30 am until 2:00 pm. We know that most parents (and some kids) don’t like missing school, and many of those same kids have after-school activities. Starting in January, you will be able to come in before school and work to get your braces checked and adjusted. We’ll also be seeing patients between 1-2 pm to accommodate students with “One Lunch” at Great Bridge High School.
For those of you that love your 4:00/4:30 appointments – Don’t Worry!! – we still have late afternoon appointments Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursday!
What is an orthodontist?
Do you know that every orthodontist is a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist? An orthodontist has completed 4 years of dental school and has a dental license. However, they have also completed at least 2 additional years of school to study how to safely and efficiently move teeth though bones and gum tissues. Orthodontists understand the complex biological systems and the engineering principles involved when putting forces on teeth with very specific directions and magnitudes. Did you know that Dr. Oakley was an engineer for 7 years before deciding to pursue orthodontics…
What’s the best option to straighten your teeth?
Today there are more options than ever to straighten your teeth. Traditional braces are smaller and more comfortable. Clear (ceramic) braces are a great alternative to metal braces for people who want their braces to be less noticeable. Clear braces also look great with color O-ties – the colors really pop! And of course, clear aligners (like Invisalign) are becoming more and more effective at straightening teeth and correcting bites. Make sure to ask Dr. C and Dr. Oakley which options would work for you!
Do I need to see a dentist while I’m seeing my orthodontist?
You might be wondering why you need to see the dentist while you’re seeing an orthodontist (didn’t we just say the orthodontist is a dentist)? Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are extremely important during orthodontic treatment. In fact, your dentist may recommend even more frequent cleanings during this time. Although Drs. C & Oakley do check on your brushing (and will make you try again and again); brushing well is not the same as a dental cleaning. Dentists and dental hygienists check and clean below the gum line and get off any hard calculus that has formed. While your orthodontist is monitoring the position of your teeth and your bite and checking for visible cavities, we do not take the kind of x-rays needed to see if cavities are developing between your teeth. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last visit to the dentist, please schedule an exam and cleaning ASAP!
At Christenson Family Orthodontics, we held our first ever Back-to-School Extravaganza this summer to help get our patients excited about the upcoming school year. It was a full week of games, activities, and yummy snacks!
Have you ever realized how amazingly talented our orthodontic assistants are? Do you have any idea how long it would take you to place 20 of the colored O-ties on your braces? A bunch of our patients accepted our challenge to find out! Although most struggled initially, everyone managed to get the colors on! The competition got heated between two brothers who were declared co-champions (their times were within 0.2 seconds!!). Remember to tell your assistant how awesome she is at your next appointment 🙂
AJ, our sterilization tech who you probably saw around this office this summer, is a rising senior at Great Bridge High School and a member of the SCA. She told us about making sock-puppets with the SCA for Operation Smile that didn’t turn out as hoped. Think scary looking puppets with eyes falling off! We thought that our patients would be able to create some incredible puppets for the children of Operation Smile. They definitely stepped up to the plate!! Haven’t heard of Operation Smile? Check them out: Operation Smile
To complete the entertaining week, patients also played an orthodontic trivia game (did you know that an armadillo has 104 teeth?!), enjoyed coloring activities, and made apple & marshmallow mouths. If you missed the fun this year, we hope you’ll make sure to stop by next year!
Have a great school year! Study hard, but don’t forget to have fun!
Did you see that Christenson Family Orthodontics was recently featured in The Shopper?! If you missed the hard copy, you can still read it online:
We were excited to tell the people of Great Bridge a little about our history and the culture in our office.
I feel so blessed to get to work with one of the most thoughtful, caring orthodontists in Chesapeake. The fact that he is also my father is an added bonus! I look forward to reviewing patient records and researching treatment options together in our rather small (and rarely tidy) office. Out in the clinic , our assistants may think we are a little crazy when we get excited over the progress of a (previously) impacted tooth! While all dental offices may start to feel like families, ours really is one. I am comforted knowing that Dr C. (Dad) is open to listening to my ideas and willingly shares his years of expertise. We both try to make the other a better orthodontist, team member, and person.
I hope that you are able to feel the love and respect when you are in our office. And I hope that you will take a few minutes to let your father know how important he is in your life!
Sincerely, Dr. Jenn Oakley
Smiles are powerful! Did you know that smiling has direct links to brain health and can actually help reduce stress? Smiles can do so much! A single smile can be enough to brighten someone’s day. And smiling is well known to be infectious! On National Smile Day we hope that you’re sharing your beautiful smile!
A healthy smile can develop confidence and generate a new outlook on the world. Creating smiles that people want to share is what Drs. Christenson and Oakley love about orthodontics! We love watching the transformation that patients go through from the beginning to the end of orthodontic treatment!
Orthodontists have been using clear aligners to straighten teeth for over 20 years! Really, Invisalign (made by Align Technology) received FDA approval to start manufacturing clear aligners in 1998! As the technology and materials have improved, clear aligners have become more effective and more popular. In the past year, at least a half dozen other dental and orthodontic companies have started selling clear aligners (several of Invisalign’s key patents expired in 2018). Today, there are more options than ever to help you get that beautiful smile you deserve!
At your initial consult, make sure you ask Dr. Christenson and Dr. Oakley if clear aligners will work for you. Just a heads up though, there are still some things that traditional braces do better than plastic. The doctors may recommend at least some time in braces or with other appliances to get you the very best results.
Dr. Christenson started his orthodontic career in the United States Air Force. He enjoyed providing orthodontic care in the military environment – transforming the lives of service men, women, and their families and having teams of dental professionals to work with to ensure that his patients received the comprehensive care they deserved.
After his 22 years of military service, Dr. C decided it was time to serve the people of Chesapeake! He and his family fell in love with the Tidewater area while stationed at Langley AFB. When the opportunity to practice in Chesapeake became available, he and Sandy didn’t hesitate to jump on it. It’s hard to believe that was almost 15 years ago now! Chesapeake is unique because our patients include military families stationed in the area, but we also get to treat local families and see our patients grow up, go off to college, and enjoy their smiles for years to come!
Today we are rolling out new practice management software. You will notice that we now have laptops at every treatment chair and a wall-mounted monitor in the consultation room. We’re feeling very high-tech right now!! (Dr. C may be feeling a bit overwhelmed… but Dr. Oakley (and her computer scientist husband, Will) are here to help get him transferred off of paper)
We are excited to be able to offer email and text appointment reminders, with quick confirmations too! Be sure to ask Taylor about it at your next appointment. Our new software will help us improve the overall patient experience, BUT please be patient with us while we learn all the new tricks it has to offer!!