LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 27, 2018
Can Retainers Fix a Slight Shift of Teeth After Braces?
While braces are a fantastic solution for yourself or your children when suffering from misaligned teeth, it’s actually possible for your teeth to shift slightly even after wearing an orthodontic appliance, especially if you don’t start to use a retainer immediately. If you’ve neglected to wear a retainer right after the brackets are taken off, you’ll want to research your options before your teeth have moved too much. Below is some useful information about how a retainer can help with a slight shift of your teeth.
What Are Retainers?
While teeth straightening applications like Invisalign and metal brackets will move your teeth into their correct position, whether you’re suffering from an overbite or crowding of the teeth, your teeth can still shift back towards their original position, which is an issue that retainers are designed to keep from happening. Directly after the appliance has been removed and your teeth have been straightened, they will be cleaned. At this time, a custom-made retainer will be crafted to fit around your teeth, some of which are permanent while others are temporary.
No matter what type of retainer you’re provided with, they are meant to keep your teeth from shifting back into their incorrect placement. It’s typically recommended that a retainer is worn on a continuous basis for at least six months, though you’ll likely be required to use one for a lengthier period of time at night, typically from 1-3 years. Even by only wearing a retainer at night, you can avoid slight shifts of your teeth, ensuring that your smile remains intact and beautiful.
Why Do My Teeth Shift After They’ve Been Straightened
Many people who get their teeth straightened with Invisalign or some other solution incorrectly believe that their teeth will remain in their corrected position for years to come. While they will never revert 100 percent back to their original positions, they will shift somewhat without the usage of a retainer. The best way to avoid this issue is by using a retainer the moment after your teeth straightening appliance has been removed. The reason that your teeth shift after having been straightened is that the bone hasn’t fully hardened into its new position. By wearing a retainer, you keep your teeth in place as the bone hardens, which saves you the trouble of having to get your teeth straightened again in the future.
Given the fact that the bone needs to harden over time, the few months immediately following the removal of your appliance are the most important. Foregoing the usage of a retainer during this period of time may cause your teeth to move to abnormal positions. If this has already happened to you, you may want to consider using a retainer for the correction of this problem, as it will allow you to save money that you otherwise might have needed for braces or Invisalign.
There are a few other issues that could cause your teeth to start shifting, even years after you’ve worn teeth straightening appliance. For instance, if you grind your teeth, there’s a chance that this grinding could cause subtle shifts of your teeth over a lengthy period of time. While these shifts won’t be noticeable immediately, they may become substantial after a couple of years. It’s also possible for your teeth to shift if you lose a tooth after orthodontic treatment, as your teeth can start moving towards the gap where the tooth is missing. If any of these issues occur, you should see an orthodontist about your options as soon as possible.
Can Retainers Fix Slight Shifts After Braces?
In many instances, it’s possible for retainers to fix slight shifts of your teeth once your orthodontic appliance has been removed. While this method of teeth straightening isn’t guaranteed to work, retainers are used at times for making very small corrections, which is why they can also be used if your teeth have moved to an abnormal position after the original appliance is taken out.
It’s important to understand that retainers must fit your teeth perfectly in order for them to work properly, which is why only very small shifts can be corrected with the use of a retainer. Retainers can’t be adjusted in the same way that metal brackets or aligners can. If the shift is too large, the best case scenario when you attempt to wear a retainer to correct the shift is that you feel discomfort on a consistent basis when wearing the retainer.
However, there’s also a slight possibility that wearing a retainer that’s not shaped 100 percent to your teeth will result in damage to those teeth, which will cost you a lot of money and frustration in the long run. If you want to be confident that wearing a retainer for a slight shift of your teeth won’t damage them, just contact your orthodontist and have them look at your teeth, as they will be able to determine whether or not wearing a retainer for these slight shifts is a smart course of action.
Schedule an Orthodontic Examination in Larkspur Today
In Marin County, Calif., you can visit Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics to have an examination and treatment from these professionals:
• Dr. Jasmine Gorton
• Dr. Bill Schmohl
An orthodontist will discuss orthodontic options with you to repair problems such as crowded teeth, crossbites or overbites. Depending on your malocclusions, you can wear one of these devices:
• Braces with colors
• Traditional or Damon Clear
We also offer WowSmiles and Acceledent options to our orthodontic patients. Schedule an appointment by calling 415-459-8006 today.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200 Larkspur CA 94939 Tel: (415)-459-8006
Can Retainers Fix a Slight Shift of Teeth After Braces?
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.