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    Can Your Teeth Shift Back After Braces?

    can your teeth shift after braces

    Can Your Teeth Shift Back After Braces?

    Congratulations on completing your orthodontic treatment – and getting your brand new smile. While it must surely be a proud moment for you, there are things that you should take care of, even when your orthodontist has taken your braces off. The most important among them is ensuring that your teeth do not move back to their previous position. Don’t worry; your teeth won’t shift back – because your orthodontist will give you retainers to prevent this from happening.

    Many people think that retainers are just a non-essential component of orthodontic treatment – they are not. A retainer is a fixed or removable appliance that your orthodontist will give you after completing your orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners. According to the National Health Service (NHS), a retainer’s function is to consolidate your treatment – to prevent your teeth moving back while the gums and the jawbones adjust to their new position.

    Can Retainers Move my Teeth?

    The short answer, no. Retainers do precisely the opposite – they won’t let your teeth move. The retainers are passive orthodontic appliances, implying that they won’t put pressure on your teeth to move them. On the other hand, the braces or Invisalign aligners are active appliances, meaning that they will generate force transferred to your teeth – leading to their movement and realignment. Hence, the purpose of retainers is to simply hold your teeth in their new, optimally aligned position.

    If I Start Wearing My Retainer Again Will My Teeth Move Back?

    Your orthodontist will design your retainers in such a way that they won’t let your teeth move either backwards or forwards. A retainers’ job is to do nothing – just sit there and act as a physical barrier to the movement of your teeth in any direction. However, slight movement or shifting of the teeth may continue throughout – owing to the age-related changes in the face and the jawbone – and is considered normal.

    How Fast Do Teeth Shift After Braces?

    After completing your orthodontic treatment, your teeth, jawbones, and gums are already adjusting to their new position. As a result, they are still “recovering” from the force which led to their realignment – and they will quickly move back if we don’t put a barrier to prevent them from moving.

    It’s just pushing something uphill; the higher you push it, the faster it will come downwards. The same is the case with your teeth. If you don’t use retainers, your teeth will quickly come back to their old positions. Such a condition is known as a “relapse”.

    How Long Does It Take For Teeth To Shift After Braces?

    The time required for your teeth to shift back after braces depend on various factors. Most important among them is the complexity of your problem. The more complex your orthodontic is, the higher forces your orthodontist will have to apply to realign your teeth, and hence, the more quickly they will come back if you fail to wear your retainers as prescribed. Another factor is patient compliance. If you are not wearing your retainers according to your orthodontist’s instructions, or if you keep losing your retainers, your teeth may shift back again.

    How To Stop Teeth Moving Without Retainer?

    How do you stop water from flowing downstream? You build a dam around it. In the same way, you have to wear retainers to prevent your teeth from moving backwards. There is no other alternative! Period. An orthodontic retainer won’t move your teeth or realign them, but it does a great job ensuring that your teeth remain where your orthodontist wants them to be.  

    Will My Teeth Shift After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

    The teeth at the back of your mouth – the molars and the premolars – are more challenging to move than the front ones. This is because they have multiple roots that are anchored within the jawbone. The wisdom teeth are situated at the back of the mouth – the jawbone in that region is so dense and thick that it won’t allow your teeth to move or shift – even after the wisdom tooth extraction. However, in some cases, your orthodontist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth to create space in your jaws and then use braces or removable aligners to relieve crowding.

    My Teeth Have Moved After Braces, What Can I Do?

    There are several reasons why your teeth might shift after you have stopped wearing braces.

    • Not wearing your retainers or failing to wear them according to your orthodontist’s instructions.
    • Damaged retainers. If you wash your removable retainers with hot water, they can get warped and change their shape. When this happens, they will either not fit over your teeth, or they will not be effective in preventing tooth movement. Your retainers may also get damaged or de-shaped if you have parafunctional dental habits like grinding your teeth.

    If you feel that your teeth have shifted after braces, you should consult with your specialist orthodontist immediately. If the problem is caught in the early stages, your orthodontist may be able to correct the situation with short-term, active orthodontic appliances. However, if there is considerable movement of your teeth, your orthodontist may have to restart your treatment.

    Are you concerned about your misaligned teeth that are ruining your smile? Worry no more! Smile 101 Specialist Orthodontic Centre is the place to go in Winsdor or Guildford for all your orthodontic needs. No matter how complex your problem is, our highly qualified and experienced team of orthodontists has a solution for you. So, what are you waiting for? Book a free smile assessment appointment with us today and take the first step towards a healthy, charming and attractive smile.