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teeth moving after braces

It’s extremely common, after wearing braces for so many years, following all the rules and procedures including aftercare, like wearing a retainer, that you experience something called “orthodontic relapse” or your teeth moving after you have finished your braces treatment. In recent years, there has been a huge rise in patients with braces treatment seeking treatment again after experiencing an orthodontic relapse.

Why Do Our Teeth Sometimes Move After Wearing Braces?

While braces do an extremely efficient job at moving our teeth where we need them to go to correct our malocclusions, they cannot move the ligaments that connect teeth to your jawbone. These ligaments are elastic and can be easily manipulated when braces are in place but once they’re taken off, they have a tendency to pull teeth back to where they originally started.

The severity of your malocclusion and certain specific orthodontic problems will more be affected by orthodontic relapse than others, but everyone can be affected by this on some scale. 

Factors Contributing to Teeth Movement

Several factors can contribute to teeth shifting after braces:

  1. Lack of Retainer Use: One of the most common causes of teeth movement after braces is not wearing retainers as recommended. Retainers are custom-made devices that help maintain the new alignment of your teeth. Whether removable or fixed, retainers play a crucial role in preventing orthodontic relapse. 
  1. Aging and Natural Changes: Over time, teeth tend to shift as part of the ageing process. This is particularly noticeable in the bottom arch, which can lead to crowding and aesthetic issues. Changes in gum and bone health and underlying health conditions can impact teeth stability and contribute to movement.
  1. Oral Habits: Habits like teeth grinding can exert pressure on your teeth, causing them to shift. Wearing a nightguard can help protect your teeth from grinding-related movement. Your Orthodontist will be able to help you with getting one fitted. 
  1. Gum Disease: Gum disease weakens the gums that support your teeth, making it easier for them to shift. Maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can help prevent this.
  1. Tooth Extraction or Missing Teeth: Gaps created by tooth extraction can lead to neighbouring teeth shifting to fill the space. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges can help maintain proper alignment. 
  2. Trauma or Accidents: Any traumatic incident affecting your teeth or jaw can disrupt alignment.

How to Prevent Orthodontic Relapse

The key to preventing teeth movement after braces is diligent retainer use. Removable or fixed retainers are designed to keep your teeth in their new positions. Wearing them as directed by your orthodontist, which is usually indefinitely, is crucial to maintaining your smile's alignment. If you notice your teeth have shifted, consult your orthodontist. We can assess the extent of the movement and recommend the appropriate course of action. For minor shifts, consistent retainer wear might suffice. However, if significant movement has occurred, your orthodontist may suggest additional treatments, such as braces or Invisalign. 

What Treatments Are Available for Orthodontic Relapse?

As orthodontic relapse is so common, it is easily treated but this will mean going through the procedure of braces yet again. A new retainer is rarely strong enough to nudge teeth back into position, but there many discreet options to choose from to get your teeth back in place. At Oldham Orthodontics, Invisalign is our chosen brand for clear aligners, so get in touch to chat about what we offer.

Get Your Smile Back on Track at your Specialist Orthodontist in Oldham

Teeth shifting after braces is a natural phenomenon, but it's not a cause for despair. Understanding the reasons behind this movement and taking proactive steps can preserve your beautiful smile for years to come. Remember, your orthodontic journey doesn't end with braces – it continues with responsible retainer use and maintaining good oral hygiene.

At Oldham Orthodontics, we're dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain the smile you've always dreamed of. Whether it's preventing teeth movement, addressing minor shifts, or exploring orthodontic treatments as an adult, we're here to guide you every step of the way.  

We are a modern, discreet, and affordable orthodontist in Oldham with specialist, highly qualified and experienced orthodontists offering the best quality orthodontic care, delivered in a comfortable and friendly environment. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you to your lifetime of confident, radiant smiles.