Living your life with Aligners can make you think about the day where you will be living your life Aligner free, and your teeth are freed from their metallic prison. If you still wear braces every day, you may spend a lot of time waiting for the moment when you can finally remove them. The one thought that kept you going while wearing braces might have been the day the braces are removed and you can see your gleaming smile and perfect teeth with a new lease of life. But, unfortunately, even after Clear Aligner treatment, people can have what is called “teeth relapse,” where the teeth start to go back to their original positions. Undergoing any orthodontic treatment is a big commitment, and the last thing anybody wants is for their teeth to move back after months, or even years after any Clear Aligner or dental treatment, making the entire time you wore them pointless and frustrating. In this article you will learn how to avoid teeth relapse after braces so you can get the full benefits.
Can the Teeth Actually Move Back After Aligner Treatment?
Patients who undergo Aligner treatment, unfortunately, can have a relapse where the teeth move back. It is quite common that people experience their teeth moving back to the original position when the treatment has been completed. Sometimes referred to as “Aligner relapse,” the teeth will move back to their pre-treatment position. This is where managing the relapse becomes so important. As the lower front teeth or upper front teeth begin to move back, the frustration felt by someone having undergone this treatment is understandable, but why is this?
What Causes the Teeth to Relapse?
Any orthodontic treatment like braces is very effective in moving teeth to align them so they look aesthetically pleasing. Clear Aligners are worn until the teeth are moved to the desired position, and they are removed. However, any treatment is ineffective at moving the ligaments which connect the teeth to the jawbone. Once the brace is removed, the elastic ligaments (which stretch much like elastic during the treatment) can pull the teeth back into their original positions which trigger the Aligner relapse. Throughout the entire time where you wear Clear Aligners to move the teeth, the ligaments can relapse in a wide variety of different ways. Some can move back to the original position and some may only move slightly, but it has been known to affect most people in a multitude of ways.
How Can I Prevent an Aligner Relapse?
While Aligner relapse is a common occurrence, it can be treated easily. The most common treatment method is through orthodontic appliances known as retainers. Retainers are similar to braces but work to hold your teeth in a new position. They come in two different types, fixed and removable.
Fixed retainers are, as the name suggests, fixed to your teeth. They come in three different types: labial, lingual, or wired. Labial braces have brackets attached to the teeth on the lip side; lingual braces have brackets attached onto the tongue-side of the teeth; and the wired retainer is flexible wire without any brackets, which are attached onto the tongue side of the teeth.
Removable retainers are not fixed. Springs may be used to keep the teeth aligned and are usually made of acrylic. Some removable retainers have invisible wires fixed onto the inner side of the teeth, which prevents the teeth from “re-moving” after Aligner treatment.
How Long Does the Treatment Last?
When people need to wear a retainer they usually need to have it on for the first 6 months whether they are awake or asleep, only removing it to brush their teeth, and at least for 20 hours a day. But after the first 6 months, there is a high chance you will only need to wear it while you are asleep. However, it is likely you will need to wear a retainer for many years to reap the benefits.
What you need to remember after undergoing Aligner treatment:
- Always wear Clear Aligners as prescribed.
- Wear your retainers as much as possible to manage the Aligner process well.
- Monitor your retainers, checking for any damage or superficial problems. If there are issues, they should be replaced as soon as possible.
- If you notice your teeth relapsing despite wearing a retainer, and it is not damaged, continue to wear them and monitor your teeth for further shifting.
- If you notice minor tooth movements, removable retainers may be a better choice as your dentist will be able to observe the movements easier, without constant removal of fixed retainers.
- If you notice a significant relapse, go visit your dentist. They may recommend re-treatment.
Treating Teeth Relapse
It is an incredibly frustrating thing if your teeth start to move back to their original position, especially after months of wearing braces. But many patients don’t like the idea of having yet more treatment to restore their teeth especially when it comes to braces. But, unfortunately, teeth relapse is all too common and the best approach is to wear retainers like Clear Aligners that are discreet that can straighten teeth after teeth relapse effectively.
Avoiding teeth relapse isn’t just about maintaining good oral hygiene or being observant of your teeth, but it’s about being ready to strike if there are any signs of teeth relapse. The longer a person goes without fixing their relapse, the more difficult it is to restore their teeth to their former glory. If you’ve gone to the effort to straighten your teeth only to have them move back, it can be frustrating after all that hard work. The lesson is simple: if you want to have a beaming smile, with all of your teeth in the right place, it’s important to follow the instructions to the letter. As we all take pride in our teeth or shy away from showing that one tooth that looks a little bit out of place if we undergo a course of Clear Aligner treatment, we can prevent our teeth going back to their original positions.
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan