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Why Teeth Move After Braces

Here at Humphrey Orthodontics, we treat a wide range of orthodontic issues using the latest in treatments and technology. Whether you’re interested in traditional metal braces or the innovative Invisalign clear aligner system, our team of experts has everything you need to get the smile of your dreams. However, you may notice some slight changes over time, which may lead you to question why teeth move after braces treatment. 

When this happens, it can be disappointing to you and your orthodontist. That’s why it’s essential to follow Dr. Humphrey’s instructions during and after treatment. Keep reading as we explore the reasons why teeth move after braces, how you can prevent it, and what to do if you notice it happening to you!

Why do teeth move after braces?

There are a few reasons why your teeth may shaft once your braces come off. One of the primary reasons is what we call the “memory effect”. This refers to the way the elastic fibers surrounding teeth seem to remember where they were in your mouth before your orthodontic treatment. This is especially true of teeth that were in bad condition. While these ligatures are the very reason orthodontic treatment is possible, they can also play a part in the way your teeth shift over time.

Another reason that teeth may move after braces is the constant changes our bodies go through as we age. Much like the hair and skin, the face and jaws continue to change in shape and form, however it’s a much more subtle transition. This is completely biological, so there’s no real way to tell if a person’s teeth will shift after braces. The growth that takes place over the years can leave less room for the teeth, causing them to shift. 

Teeth may also shift due to the sheer amount of force they encounter on a daily basis. We constantly use our mouths, putting pressure on our teeth. Like any other part of the body, it’s only natural they experience wear and tear over time. While the pressures of chewing an apple or talking may seem small, they all add up, which can lead to shifts in your teeth, even if you’ve had orthodontic treatment. 

How can I help prevent my teeth moving after treatment?

The single best thing you can do to protect your newly-straightened smile is wear your retainer as directed by Dr. Humphrey. Once your braces come off, our office will provide you with a custom retainer to help keep your teeth in new positions. Consistently wearing your retainer will allow your teeth to solidify in place as your bone stabilizes after treatment. The first months after your braces are removed are essential in stabilizing your teeth. This will ensure that your teeth are held into place and the bone that was softened during treatment solidifies. 

That being said, most patients are concerned about how long they’ll be required to wear their new retainer after treatment. The exact amount of time each patient is required to wear a retainer will vary depending on Dr. Humphrey’s evaluation of their particular case. There are factors sometimes out of your control that may cause your teeth to shift over time. Thus, we will never tell you to stop wearing your retainer. Retainers are a lifetime commitment to ensure that your teeth remain in their new position. 

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What do I do if I notice my teeth shifting?

After all the hard work of achieving the straight, healthy smile you’ve always dreamed of, it can be discouraging to notice your teeth shifting. While minor shifts may go unnoticed, if you start to notice major changes, notify our team right away. Once we know what’s going on, we’ll be able to put a solid plan into action. 

In some cases, we can make a few changes to your retainer or the way you wear it. An ill-fitted retainer can work against your teeth or even cause damage, so it’s very important to alert our office if you start to feel any type of discomfort while wearing it.  

If more complex shifting has occurred, you may require a different resolution. In some cases, it may be necessary to wear clear aligners for an extended period of time. This can hold your teeth in place more consistently, allowing the bone around them to harden. For severe cases, a second round of braces may be the best option. We encourage all of our patients to wear their retainer as directed to avoid additional treatment!  

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Maintain your smile with Humphrey Orthodontics

Getting your braces off is a big deal! After months of hard work and dedication, you can finally see the smile you’ve been dreaming of. Of course you want to do everything you can to protect your investment! Maintaining good oral hygiene will help keep your smile sparkling and wearing your retainer will keep it in place. 

If you’ve got an appointment to get your braces off soon or are just looking to get started with your smile transformation, it’s important to know all the facts. If you have any questions about your treatment, wearing a retainer, or how you can get started with treatment, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Humphrey today.