So you've finally gotten your braces off, but how can you ensure that your teeth will not shift and impact your new smile? In this post, our BC orthodontists share why your teeth may shift after getting your braces off and how it can be prevented.
Why Teeth Shift After Braces Are Removed
It’s natural for your teeth to want to move back to their original positions after you get your braces off. Teeth movement can happen shortly after braces, or take several years. Patients are often concerned about their teeth moving after braces, years later. Although this is concerning, it isn't out of the ordinary and can be prevented.
Throughout your treatment with braces, the jawbone will be worn out due to the braces forcing your teeth into their new positions. Once you get your braces off, the jawbone will need time to heal before your teeth are secured in their corrected positions. This is why wearing a retainer following treatment is so important. A retainer will hold your teeth in place until the jawbone has healed.
Changes in gum and bone health can impact the stability of your tooth positions. Poor oral hygiene can also play a role in your teeth placement, specifically if there are significant changes in your health status. Conditions such as diabetes, thyroid hormone issues, osteoporosis, and many other conditions that affect bone health can influence tooth movement.
Grinding your teeth (bruxism) at night can cause tooth damage and cause your teeth to move. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a nightguard to help protect your teeth.
When Your Teeth Will Stop Shifting After Braces
When you realize how fast teeth move during treatment with braces, it makes sense that they would want to shift back afterward. Since most treatment with braces takes around 3 years or so, you definitely want to do everything you can to make sure they stay in their new positions.
Our BC orthodontists recommend wearing retainers full-time for about nine months to help reduce post-braces teeth shifting. Eventually, your teeth will become more stable, but it’s natural to notice some minor shifts over the years. To maintain a perfectly aligned smile throughout your lifetime, it may be recommended to wear a retainer part-time for the rest of your life.
It is critical to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. If you are advised to wear a retainer full-time for several months after you get your braces off, not wearing your retainer for even a few days could allow your teeth to begin to shift back.
Preventing Teeth Shifting & Fixing Shifted Teeth
The only way to be certain that your teeth will not shift after getting your braces off is to wear a retainer. These retainers can be fixed or removable, but it is also important to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine.
If you want to know how to fix already shifted teeth after braces, these retainers are the answer. Your dentist should have give you one immediately following treatment, but if you find your teeth beginning to move years later, your orthodontist can get you set up with a new one to keep your teeth in their desired position.
A common reason for teeth shifting after braces is that the patient doesn’t wear their retainer as directed. As a solution, fixed or lingual retainers can be placed for those who are likely to lose or forget to wear them. These retainers are permanently attached throughout the duration of your treatment to prevent your teeth from shifting.
A fixed retainer is made from a thin wire that bonds to the inside of your upper and lower teeth. Regular checkups with your orthodontist are needed to ensure the wire stays attached properly. The most significant benefit of fixed retainers is that they’re completely invisible from the front so you can still show off your new smile.
These retainers are similar to Invisalign clear aligners, as they can be easily removed for when you eat, brush, and floss. After your teeth have had some time to stabilize in their new positions (around 3 months), you should only have to wear them when you sleep.
It is important to monitor your clear aligners to ensure they don't become warped or damaged. If there are even slight imperfections in your plastic retainers, they may not be as effective and can allow your teeth to shift.
When to See Your Orthodontist
If you notice your retainers don’t fit or you can see a visible change in the positioning of your teeth, contact your orthodontist right away. If you have recently completed your braces treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.