Movement of teeth after orthodontic treatment is called relapse. The orthodontic appliances designed to prevent relapse are called retainers and these are just as important as the tooth-straightening appliances. You should have been given these after your braces. Whether you wore them or not is another matter…
Don’t worry! There are ways to re-straighten your teeth again. Invisalign clear aligners are perfect for this. There aren’t too many people who have worn braces and are keen to do it again, so the vast majority of patients given the option choose to have aligners.
Fortunately, your braces should have done the major “bite-fixing” movements to your teeth. Usually the relapse is limited to small spaces or some crowding of front teeth. So clear aligners should be able to get this sorted for you with a minimum of time and fuss.
What’s with all the different types of retainers?
Different orthodontists choose to use different types of retainers. The type is not so important as that you wear it! But we know that life happens. Sometimes retainers break and if people don’t get around to getting it fixed or replaced right away, then their teeth will move subtly. Then the retainer won’t fit anymore, so relapse worsens. Even 0.5mm of tooth movement might mean your teeth look different.
But if my orthodontist did a good job, shouldn’t my teeth have stayed straight?
Not necessarily. A great orthodontic result can still have relapse. Teeth are attached to the jawbone with tiny ligaments which have elastic-type fibres in them, so they can “spring” teeth back toward the previous crooked position of the tooth. Also, our jaws and faces change gradually over our life, and so does the alignment of our teeth. Even the teeth of people who never had orthodontic treatment tend to get more crooked with age. You don’t expect an 80 year-old to have the same skin as a 20 year-old, and teeth are no different in that they can get “wrinkled up” or crowded with time. But if you wear your retainers as instructed (yes for life!) then they should stay straight.
We use bonded wire retainers to minimise relapse
What sort of retainers will I get after I have Invisalign treatment at Midwestern Aligner Orthodontics?
After you have your teeth re-straightened, you will definitely want retainers to hold that smile. Dr Leen uses a combination of unobtrusive bonded wires permanently glued to the inside of your front teeth. You will also get a removable plate that looks a lot like your aligners but fits over the wire. The clear retainer (Vivera) is a lot tougher than your aligner and designed for long-term holding of your teeth. And don’t worry, you don’t have to wear it full-time like your aligners. Your initial set of retainers are included in your fee.
A very cool feature at Midwestern Aligner Orthodontics is that your digital retainer scan is kept on file. That’s right, no messy impressions with us, we are digital all the way. So if you need another retainer and your other one still fitted well, just give us a call and we will get one made without you even needing to come in! We love technology that makes things easy for our patients.