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How to Help Prevent Teeth Shifting and the Factors Involved

What is Orthodontic Relapse?

Orthodontic relapse occurs when teeth shift back to the initial position after a patient has completed orthodontic treatment. Teeth relapse after braces may occur due to insufficient treatment that addresses skeletal misalignment. Still, the most common reason is that patients do not follow proper aftercare procedures and fail to maintain their current teeth alignment.

Teeth relapses are common; studies indicate that over half of the orthodontic patients experience orthodontic relapse within ten years of the treatment. While causes of relapse in orthodontics vary dramatically, preventative practices can help minimize teeth relapse.

Why do Teeth Relapse?

Your teeth are constantly under pressure, resulting in continued moving throughout your life even after wearing braces. After orthodontic procedures, such as braces or Invisalign, your teeth may start to shift back to their original position.

Some factors that can speed up the relapse process include:

Teeth Grinding

Formally known as bruxism, teeth grinding not only wears your teeth but can cause teeth to relapse over time. Clenching your teeth applies pressure that shifts your teeth from the alignment obtained by wearing braces.

Gum Disease

Periodontitis is a gum infection often caused by poor oral hygiene that can cause teeth to loosen and shift. Some symptoms of gum disease include bright red gums, tooth loss, and swelling.

Professional teeth cleaning is the best recommendation to prevent more damage to the neighboring teeth and jaw bone. However, severe cases may require surgery.

Jawbone Growth

The lower jawbone becomes narrower and grows forward as you get older. It causes a misalignment with the upper jaw resulting in teeth relapse when chewing. It’s a natural occurrence. However, some patients may need implants, tooth extraction, or bridgeworks to correct the bite.

Continuous positive airway pressure (work with their orthodontist)

A CPAP machine is a treatment for patients with sleep apnea. The machines use mild air pressure to keep the airways open. Studies indicate that CPAP machines can cause teeth relapse. Researchers suggest that patients under CPAP therapy pay attention to their teeth and work with their orthodontic to prevent or correct severe shifting.

How to Avoid Teeth Relapse Before Braces?

Here are some ways to consider avoiding teeth relapse before completing your orthodontic process:

  • Before beginning your orthodontic treatment, set up a proper diagnosis and treatment plan with your orthodontist.
  • Address any bad habits that may contribute to teeth relapse. Consider working on issues like thumb sucking, teeth grinding, and poor oral hygiene before pursuing orthodontic treatment.
  • Perform diagnosis for any gum diseases in their early stages and get treatment for the soft gums. You can consult with an orthodontist near you on the way forward if you have Periodontitis.

How to Avoid Teeth Relapse After Braces?

After the braces come off, talk to your orthodontist about the best practice for you to avoid teeth relapse. Some standard solutions include:

Removable Retainers

After completing your orthodontic processes, orthodontists often prescribe a removable retainer that you can wear at certain hours during the day and at night when you sleep.

The average price of customized, removable retainers ranges between $300-$600 for an upper and lower dental arch. A single piece costs as low as $150 to $300.

Permanent Retainers

These are fixed retainers made of metal wires which have braided texture and are often glued to your teeth permanently after orthodontic treatment. Fixed retainers hold your teeth in their aligned positions.

The starting price of bonded retainers ranges between $150 – $500 and can sometimes include in your overall charges for braces depending on your orthodontist.

Good Dental Hygiene

While proper dental hygiene won’t necessarily fix teeth relapse, it can prevent issues such as Periodontitis which can affect teeth alignment in the future.  Some oral hygiene practices include:

  • Floss your teeth regularly (preferably every day).
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Reduce habits that can destroy your teeth; smoking and eating sugary junk.
  • Visit your dentist and orthodontist regularly for checkups.

What Happens When I Stop Wearing Retainers?

When you stop wearing your retainers, your teeth will slowly adjust to their original position of misalignment and crooked. After treatment, wearing a mouthguard or subtle permanent retainer is necessary to retain that beautiful smile you worked hard to achieve!

If you have questions about proper aftercare to prevent teeth relapse and live in Forrest Hills, Cedar Hurst, or Brooklyn, contact Amazing Smiles for a consultation!

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