Teeth can move your whole life whether you have had orthodontic treatment or not. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in treatment. Teeth will still move even if you have been in braces for many years. Some patients have had permanent retainers removed after ten or more years and slowly their teeth start to shift. The only way to prevent unwanted tooth movement is with retainers. There are two types of retainers; a removable or permanent retainer. Dr Couser prefers permanent retainers because you have a more realistic chance of keeping your teeth straight. It is not realistic to have to wear a removable retainer every night for the rest of your life. Some orthodontists recommend full time wear of a removable retainer for some months after orthodontic treatment and then tell their patients after a few years they don’t need to wear it. This is dangerous because it is highly likely your teeth will shift. The only way to guarantee your teeth stay straight is by having a retainer for a lifetime.
Life happens to all of us
Unfortunately, retainers are sometimes forgotten to be worn and teeth have shifted before being noticed. Luckily, if the teeth haven’t moved to far, full time wear with retainers for a while can help nudge the teeth back into the correct position. However, if the teeth have shifted too far, the retainer may not fit at all. When this happens, an orthodontic evaluation can help determine what is the next step (always bring your existing retainer with you for the consultation). Based on the amount of orthodontic relapse that has occurred, limited or comprehensive retreatment may be recommended. If relapse is mild to moderate, retreatement may include braces on anterior teeth for a short period of time, or Invisalign. If relapse is moderate to severe, comprehensive retreatment may be recommended which may include complete invisalign or braces with elastics or rubber bands. Dr Couser highly recommends a permanent retainer if you are being retreated.