What is orthodontic relapse?
Orthodontic relapse happens when your teeth move back towards their original positions after wearing braces. It can take years to align teeth and just months to undo all your hard work.
Orthodontic relapse can be very frustrating, but, thankfully, it is avoidable.
Why do teeth move after braces?
When we straighten your teeth, your jawbone remodels to support them in their new positions, and the ligaments that connect your teeth to your jawbone are stretched. It can take time for your jawbone to stabilise, while your ligaments will always remain elastic.
You’re most at risk of orthodontic relapse for the first 12 months, but there’s always a chance that your teeth could relapse later in life.
As we age, our teeth can move whether we’ve worn braces or not. The ageing process, tooth loss, grinding, and everyday actions like biting and chewing can all impact the positions of your teeth.
How do we keep teeth straight after braces?
Orthodontic treatment can achieve long-lasting results if you follow your orthodontist’s aftercare advice carefully.
After we remove your braces, we’ll fit retainers to maintain your results and supervise your retention for one year.
Retainers are essential after braces. They stop your teeth from moving and prevent orthodontic relapse. You’ll need to wear retainers indefinitely, or your teeth could move – even decades later.
Removable and fixed retainers
We offer two types of retainers: fixed and removable. Removable retainers resemble Invisalign aligners, but they’re custom-made to hold your teeth in their new positions.
When we’re ready to take your braces off, we’ll take scans of your teeth for your new retainers. We 3D print our removable retainers in-house, so we can fit them straight away.
Eventually, you’ll only need to wear your removable retainers at night to keep your teeth straight. If anything happens to your removable retainers, contact us as soon as you can so that we can arrange replacements.
Fixed retainers offer extra protection against relapse. They consist of a thin metal wire that we attach behind your front teeth. They’re very unobtrusive. Just make sure you keep them clean and use interdental brushes to brush between your teeth and underneath the wire.
Treatments for orthodontic relapse
If you’ve experienced orthodontic relapse, we’d be delighted to see you for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options. You’ll most likely need to wear braces again, but depending on how far your teeth have moved, your treatment could be considerably quicker.
Invisalign Lite is a popular option for relapse cases. It’s designed to align mild crowding and spacing quickly and discreetly using clear, removable aligners.
You can remove your aligners to eat, drink and clean your teeth. Best of all, we can show you how your teeth will move with each aligner.
At the end of your treatment, you’ll receive retainers and all the aftercare advice you need to keep your smile straight for life.
To learn more about how we can treat orthodontic relapse, contact us to arrange a consultation in Clonmel with specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Clune.