You did it: you got your teeth straightened with braces. They looked so good, and you were so happy. But now you’ve got a problem: your teeth have moved back to their previous positions and are crooked again. What can be done about this?

Why Teeth Relapse

Braces RelapseRelapse is very common among braces wearers, especially during the first year after the braces are removed. The main reason why teeth relapse in this period is that they aren’t yet fully fixed in their new places.

Braces move teeth by putting constant pressure on the tooth, causing the bone around it to remold, allowing the tooth to move. Once the braces come off, though, there is no longer force pushing your teeth into the desired position. Instead, there are forces that want to draw your teeth back to their old position. The periodontal ligaments around your teeth are a tough, flexible fiber, so they don’t remodel initially. Instead, they stretch, like a rubber band. Once your braces are removed, then, you basically have a rubber band trying to pull your teeth back to where they were before.

The movement of your teeth back is made more likely by the fact that the reworked bone around your tooth may be less dense along the path from your tooth’s new position to its old position.

Finally, your braces may not have been set up to change your bite. If not, you are still biting down with the old bite force, which is part of what made your teeth crooked in the first place.

Preventing and Treating Relapse

If you are concerned about relapse, the main thing you have to do is wear your retainer after braces. Follow your dentist’s instructions exactly to prevent relapse. You will have to wear your retainer constantly  for a short number of months after the braces come off, then wear it periodically for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight.

But what if you didn’t follow instructions and now your teeth have relapsed? Are braces the only option? No. There are many orthodontics treatments available that can give you the right solution for your crooked teeth. In most cases, treatment can be completed much faster than your first set of braces braces.

If you are concerned about relapse from orthodontic treatment, we can manufacture a retainer for you. If your teeth have already relapsed, we can help you find the right braces option for you. Please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.