Achieving a straighter smile takes a lot of hard work and dedication! Orthodontic treatment is an investment of your time and finances, and we know that every patient fully intends to wear their retainer religiously once the active phase is complete. But life happens! Over time, you might find yourself missing a night or two of retainer wear here and there. Before you know it, you may not even know where your retainer is, let alone wear it as often as you’re meant to.
Here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics, we frequently hear from former orthodontic patients whose teeth have begun to shift. These relapses can be upsetting, whether they’re due to infrequent retainer use or some other reason. Fortunately, there are a number of options for retreatment available! To learn more about these, let’s talk about what causes relapses to occur in the first place. We’ll then look at how we can help get your smile back on the straight and narrow again. Keep reading for more expert information!
What can cause a relapse?
Not wearing your retainer appropriately is the most common culprit for an orthodontic relapse, but it’s not always to blame. There are other reasons your teeth can shift in adulthood, including:
Genetics and the aging process
As we get older, our teeth have a natural tendency to shift. Even with orthodontic treatment, they can drift back to their original positions over time. Since the enamel also begins to wear thin as we age, the front teeth are particularly susceptible to movement.
If one or more teeth have been lost for any reason, the neighboring teeth will often drift towards that empty space. If this is left untreated over a prolonged period, it can eventually cause a misaligned bite.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is any involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth outside normal chewing, swallowing, or speaking movements. These movements place a strain on the teeth that can alter your bite and sometimes cause misalignment.
How can retreatment help?
Whatever the cause for your relapse, we can help you rediscover the smile you remember and prevent the same thing from happening in the future! This begins with a new orthodontic evaluation, which will allow Dr. Fagala to assess the full extent of your relapse. During this complimentary consultation, we’ll use digital photographs, x-rays, and an oral examination to diagnose your current condition. This information will also give Dr. Fagala what he needs to develop a personalized treatment plan designed to restore your smile.
Depending on the severity of your relapse, we may recommend a limited or more comprehensive strategy to treat it. If you’ve consistently worn your retainer and there’s only minor shifting present, it may be possible to leave things as they are and continue to monitor your teeth for any further shifting. We can also correct minor movements of the teeth by having new custom retainers made.
If you’re experiencing a more significant relapse, retreatment with braces or clear aligners may be the best choice. This will often take much less time than your original treatment, and we have a variety of affordable treatment options to straighten your smile again!
Traditional metal braces
Most metal braces are composed of medical-grade alloys such as stainless steel and nickel, which makes the brackets very durable. They’re an effective option for treating a wide range of orthodontic issues, and capable of closing gaps and aligning the teeth relatively quickly. Depending on when you had your original treatment, you may find that today’s braces are more comfortable and stylish than previous versions!
Ceramic braces work in the same way metal braces do but have the added benefit of translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While they aren’t completely invisible, both of these bracket options are much less noticeable than metal brackets and blend in well with your natural smile. This is especially true if you pair them with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastics! Ceramic braces are an attractive option for adult patients who want a subtle way to straighten their smile but aren’t suitable candidates for Invisalign clear aligners.
Invisalign clear aligners
Instead of brackets and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of custom-made aligners to gradually straighten the teeth. These trays are made of a special clear material that’s smooth for a comfortable fit. They’re also designed to be removed before eating or brushing your teeth, which gives patients an extra measure of freedom that they love! The Invisalign system works particularly well for mild to moderate cases, like those often experienced with relapses.
Find a beautiful smile again with retreatment from SCO
Whatever your retreatment plan looks like, you’ll need to take precautions to prevent your teeth from shifting again in the future. Once we restore your smile, you’ll be fitted for a new retainer. It’s important to wear this retainer as instructed to ensure that your teeth are stabilized and secure in their new positions! Dr. Fagala may recommend a permanent retainer rather than a removable appliance to eliminate the risk of a lost retainer or inconsistent use.
If you’ve been missing the beautiful smile you had after orthodontic treatment, we can help! Retreatment can straighten your teeth, give you a better bite, and improve your oral health. You don’t have to settle for a smile you don’t love! Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our Germantown or Collierville office, and take the first step towards long-lasting results you’ll love.