There’s no doubt that undergoing orthodontic treatment takes a lot of hard work and dedication, not to mention money as well. To achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, you need to have patience and diligence both during the time you’re wearing braces and for years afterwards as well. Some patients mistakenly believe that once their braces are finally removed, all the work is done and their teeth will remain in the same position forever. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and wearing your retainer for the prescribed timeframe post-treatment is vital to ensure your teeth remain in their new position and don’t relapse.
Many orthodontic patients don’t wear their retainer for the prescribed timeframe post-treatment. Although braces has moved their teeth into a new position, the ligaments that attach their teeth to their jawbone don’t move, and these ligaments will gradually move teeth back to their old position if a retainer isn’t used to hold them in place. Unlike bone, ligaments are elastic which allows teeth to be moved in the first place. They also ‘remember’ the old position they were in for many years and will try to force their way back to this position if a retainer isn’t worn until the ligaments have settled down.
Teeth move naturally once braces are removed
Regardless of whether you wear your retainer after Invisalign or braces, your teeth will move slightly which is a normal part of the settling process. Sometimes these tiny shifts can actually improve your bite further. Your tongue, which is a strong muscle, is constantly moving and pushing against your teeth when you speak, and the normal wear and tear caused by your tongue can also affect your teeth placement.
In addition to this, as your body ages and loses elastin and collagen which causes our skin to wrinkle over time, so do the structures that hold our teeth into position causing them to weaken too. The eruption of wisdom teeth, along with having a tooth extracted, can also affect the placement of your teeth as the changes in space can cause your teeth to move again.
The fact of the matter is, slight teeth movement post-orthodontic treatment is a normal part of the process and your teeth can be forced to move when other teeth are added or subtracted from the mix. This highlights the importance of wearing your retainer for the prescribed timeframe to ensure your teeth and ligaments settle properly into their new position.
What happens if my teeth move substantially post-treatment?
If, for whatever reason, your teeth have moved substantially since finishing orthodontic treatment, there are several options available to move them back into the ideal position. Invisalign, which uses clear aligners to move teeth as opposed to traditional braces, have several fast treatment options which can fix minor teeth issues in only a couple of months. This treatment option is very popular amongst patients considering the aligners are virtually invisible and other people don’t even realise patients are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign i7 is recommended for patients who require up to three months of teeth straightening, whereas Invisalign Lite is prescribed to patients who require up to six months of treatment. In some circumstances, you may need to wear braces again if you experience severe relapse, however they generally won’t be required for the same length of time as youroriginal treatment. In any case, there are numerous options available which are less expensive and require less time to move your teeth back into their desired position.
The sooner you act, the better!
If you had braces as a teenager and have noticed that your teeth are starting to relapse, it’s always better to seek professional advice sooner rather than later. Many patients undergo a second round of orthodontic treatment in their adult years, but it’s vital to remember that the sooner you seek treatment, the easier it will be to correct.
If you have any questions relating to fast treatment options or you think you need a second round of orthodontic treatment, get in touch with Clear Smiles Orthodontics on the Gold Coast. They offer all new patients a free initial consultation, so get in touch with their friendly team today by phoning 07 5593 3733.