You wear braces for a year or two, and then your teeth are perfectly straight for life. Right? Isn’t that how it works?
Unfortunately, braces are not always a permanent option for dental alignment. Your teeth may shift after braces, depending on your care regimen. This guide will help you maintain your teeth after braces so you can enjoy a straight smile.
Why Teeth Move after Braces
Before braces, your teeth spent years in one place. Braces redirect teeth to a new alignment. After the braces are gone, your teeth may start to shift back to their original positioning. This will not happen right away, and the shift may not be drastic. Without proper maintenance though, it is possible for teeth to shift back out of alignment.
How to Maintain Your Straight Smile after Braces
The best way to keep your teeth straight after braces is by wearing your retainer. We often recommend permanent retainers for long-term maintenance. Permanent retainers stay in place, so there is no worrying about misplacing your retainer or forgetting to wear it. In many instances, we will install a permanent retainer for the bottom teeth and offer a removable retainer for the top teeth. The bottom teeth are more susceptible to moving after braces.
In addition to wearing your retainer, you should attend routine dental appointments to monitor your oral health. Your dentist can identify warning signs of alignment issues to come. Correcting them early on will reduce the risk of shifting.
What to Do If Your Teeth Move after Braces
If you have not worn your retainer for a while, your teeth may have already started to shift. If so, don’t fret. There are a few options for you. If the shift is minor, you may be able to use your retainer to make adjustments. Wearing the retainer may hurt at first, similar to what you experienced when your braces were tightened. After a few days though, the tenderness will subside. Consult with your dentist or orthodontist to find out if this is an option for you.
If your teeth have shifted slightly more than the retainer can correct, you may need to temporarily wear braces or invisible aligners to shift your teeth back into place. However, if your current alignment is not uncomfortable or aesthetically unpleasant, your teeth may be fine where they are. Your dentist can confirm if your current placement will cause any long-term issues, such as TMJ pain or difficulty chewing.
To learn more about smile maintenance after braces, contact Clinton Dental Center.