Here at Sandifer Orthodontics, we commonly see adult patients experiencing orthodontic relapse. The smile they spent so much time straightening has begun to shift, and they want to know if we can do anything to get it back on track again. Fortunately, there is! Retreatment for adult patients is available to our patients throughout Jackson, Brandon, and beyond.
Dr. Sandifer has years of experience working with orthodontic patients of all ages, including adults who need a touch-up treatment to correct a relapse. Let’s look at what causes orthodontic relapse.
What is an orthodontic relapse?
Orthodontic relapse is when the teeth shift toward their original positions before orthodontic treatment. Short-term relapse happens less than one year after the completion of treatment. Long-term relapse occurs more than a year after finishing treatment.
Orthodontic relapse is pretty common, with some studies estimating that more than 50% of patients will experience relapse within ten years of completing treatment. This chance for relapse is one reason orthodontists have changed their approach to retainer wear in recent years.
Many adults dealing with relapse were told that they could discontinue wearing their retainers a year or two after their initial treatment. Orthodontists now agree that you should wear retainers for life.
Don’t let that kind of commitment scare you, though! After the first few months of wearing retainers, you’ll only need to wear them at night. This will be enough to maintain your newly straightened smile. Once Dr. Sandifer dismisses her patients, she thoroughly reviews the importance of lifetime wear.
We know that wearing a retainer EVERY SINGLE night isn’t attainable for most people. As long as you wear your retainers at least 3-4 nights/week, tooth positions should remain stable.
The only instances where one may see more problems with retainer wear any less than every night is when a patient previously had generous spacing between the front teeth. For those patients, stellar retainer wear is important for the long term, and Dr. Sandifer recommends a bonded retainer.
Causes of orthodontic relapse
Not using a retainer as directed by your orthodontist is the most common reason for teeth shifting after orthodontic treatment. After the initial treatment phase, the teeth, surrounding bone, and gums still need time to solidify in their new locations.
Wearing your retainers as directed by Dr. Sandifer will help protect your teeth from the forces trying to pull them back to their previous positions and assist with the stabilization effort over time. Other contributing factors contributing to relapse include, but aren’t limited to
- Genetics and aging
- Tooth loss
- Teeth grinding
Treating orthodontic relapses
Seeing your teeth shifting for any reason can be upsetting, but our expert Sandifer Orthodontics team can help! There are generally a few different options for addressing orthodontic relapse.
Monitoring the teeth
If you’ve worn your retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Sandifer and only have a minor relapse, we can leave things as they are and monitor your teeth for further movement.
Creating new retainers
If you’ve lost or broken your retainer, this will be one of the first things we do.We have many options tailored to your lifestyle and what works best for you. Getting in the office as soon as possible is important to get a new retainer if you lose or damage your retainers. Waiting beyond a week is TOO LONG.
If you’ve suffered a more significant relapse, Dr. Sandifer may recommend retreatment with braces or aligners. You might balk at dealing with traditional braces again as an adult, but we can offer various treatment options to correct your relapse. These include discreet options like clear braces and Invisalign clear aligners.
For really minor movements, Sandifer Orthodontics offers Invisalign “Touch Up” cases that are economical versus full braces or full Invisalign cases. These treatments can take 3-6 months, and all is straight again!
The benefits of retreatment
The thought of retreatment can feel overwhelming, but there are good reasons for addressing your orthodontic relapse!
Improved oral health
Crowded teeth create crevices where food particles can accumulate, leading to plaque and tartar buildup. Teeth that are correctly spaced and aligned are easier to keep clean with an excellent dental hygiene routine.
Restore your smile
Retreatment can also give you back the beautifully aligned smile you once had! This can help you feel more confident in your daily life and improve your overall self-esteem.
Correcting orthodontic relapse often takes much less time than your initial treatment. Whether you choose braces or aligner treatment with Sandifer Orthodontics to correct your orthodontic relapse, the results are more than worth it when you recognize your smile in the mirror again.
Get your smile back on track with Sandifer Orthodontics
Whatever the reason for your orthodontic relapse, we can recreate the smile you’ve been missing and improve your oral health. If you’re ready to take the first step towards reclaiming your beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation in our Jackson or Brandon office!