Let’s say you have completed your orthodontic treatment, and finally, after all that time spent wearing braces or even Invisalign® aligners, it’s time to remove them. One thought that may cross your mind not long after, is whether your teeth will shift back to their previous position now that nothing is holding them in place.
Why Teeth Move after Braces
The answer is yes; your teeth may move after your treatment with braces is complete. The reason for this is, when you have braces or aligners on, they hold your teeth firmly in place, adding bits of pressure throughout the treatment until the right position is attained. Now, when the treatment is complete, your teeth no longer have the pressure on them, and this leads to a natural settling process.
Usually, your teeth make small movements to find the right settling position. However, it should be a concern if your teeth are moving a lot or if you are experiencing changes to your bite. Significant shifting usually means your teeth are gradually moving back to their previous position, and this calls for immediate intervention.
A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic device that helps the teeth avoid shifting back to the old alignment and retain the new position after braces or aligners are removed.
There are two types of retainers, removable and fixed. Removable retainers are thin, clear devices that fit your teeth perfectly. Your orthodontist takes impressions of your teeth after removing your braces and goes ahead to fashion the retainers which you get to wear in a few days. Unlike braces, removable retainers are clear and discreet, making it hard for anyone to notice that you have them on. And unless your teeth are moving too much, you may only have to wear them at night when you go to sleep.
A fixed retainer, also known as ‘bonded retainer’ is a thin wire that is cemented by our orthodontist to the back side of your teeth to keep them from shifting. The retainers are placed in such a way that they are not visible when you talk or smile. They are also easy on your teeth as most of the time you won’t remember you have them on.
Wearing retainers right after your treatment with braces or aligners will help you avoid orthodontic relapse and will maintain your teeth in their position until the ligaments in your jaw stabilize. At Brodie Bowman Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, FL, we answer all your questions about braces and Invisalign®. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!