Here’s some information about what leads to retainer relapse and how you can keep your beautiful smile from being altered.
Straight teeth are possible to achieve but whether they stay that way is another story. Most of the time, the reason for an orthodontic relapse is self-inflicted: you forgot to wear your retainer as instructed. It happens and is something Dr. Miller is familiar with, though it isn’t ideal.
Depending on the degree of tooth movement, there are several ways Dr. Miller can treat misalignment after orthodontic treatment. For minimal shifting 1-2 years after metal braces, we can try to use the same retainer you were issued originally to encourage teeth to inch back into position.
When the original retainer no longer fits, we move on to plan B. We can create a new retainer to help encourage teeth and restore your smile. It’s when teeth have shifted significantly that Dr. Miller may suggest a new phase of treatment though it may prove to be much shorter this time around.
If you want to avoid misalignment after you’ve finished wearing braces or aligners, you have to consistently wear your retainer(s). Being lax about retainer use can lead to you regretting it down the road. For the most part, tooth movement is preventable so it’s essential you use the tools we’ve given you.
In addition to wearing a retainer, regular follow-up appointments are also important as part of a comprehensive retention plan. These appointments allow Dr. Miller to monitor the stability of your teeth and make any necessary adjustments to the retention plan if needed. We can also use our time together to address any emerging concerns.
Every patient of ours is unique and thus, requires a personalized, long-term retention plan designed to keep teeth in ideal position. Dr. Miller will go over a recommended duration of retainer wear with you which typically ranges from several months to a year or more.
This schedule allows the periodontal ligaments, the tissues that hold the teeth in place, to adapt to their new positions and stabilize the bite. For certain retention plans, we may suggest that you wear your orthodontic retainer(s) at night. This approach helps to maintain the achieved results while offering flexibility during the day.
It’s important for patients to seamlessly incorporate retainer usage into their daily lives. An easy way to do this is to create a morning or bedtime routine where you pop in the retainer before going about other tasks. You’ll also need to regularly clean your retainer with a non-abrasive brush and store it in a protective case when not in use.
It is possible to avoid the onset of orthodontic relapse. With the retainer provided to you by our orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI, and the expertise of our team, you should be golden as long as you keep up with wearing the oral appliance. Call Miller Orthodontics today at (616) 942-9320 to request an appointment.