It can be frustrating to see your teeth shift after years of wearing braces. Why do teeth shift after braces in the first place? Well, if your teeth were able to move due to the pressure of wearing braces, then other sources of pressure will likely shift them over time.
In this post, learn about the causes of why teeth shift or orthodontic relapse happens and the dental treatments to make them right.
Q: Why do teeth shift after braces?
A: There is no single answer to why your teeth move after years of having orthodontic treatment. Your teeth may look steady whenever you bite, chew, or smile, but in a month or two, you will see them in different positions. It seems like magic since you never felt anything move, but here are the possible reasons why:
Age-related changes in your jawbone
Our teeth are attached to the jawbone that grows as we get older. So, any development on your jaw, whether it gets a little wider or thicker, will more likely affect the position of your teeth. The eruption of your wisdom teeth in your late teenage years or early 20s is also another possible cause of adjustments in your teeth and jawbones.
According to the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, facial growth or craniofacial skeletal and dental development is more prevalent in ages 16 to 20.
Pressure when chewing or talking
Pressure, both internally and externally, can drive your teeth to move. As you grind and chew your food, your teeth and jaw can hold about 1,100 newtons or 200 pounds of biting force. Improper distribution of pressure in your mouth when you chew or bite will more likely bring your teeth to their old positions. That’s why wearing a retainer after braces is a must for this specific reason.
Teeth moving back to their old positions
Your body has its memory of how every muscle and ligament used to work. The periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth attached to your jaw are also not as fixed as they seem. They freely move and only stay in place when external pressure, like braces, prevents them from moving.
Once the pressure from the braces is lost, the ligaments activate their muscle memory and remember the old positions of your teeth, shifting them back after your braces treatment. So wearing a retainer is the next crucial step to prevent orthodontic relapse. Otherwise, you will only waste the years you spent on braces.
Dental conditions like teeth grinding, TMJ, or tooth loss
Certain dental conditions can also trigger your teeth to move in undesirable positions. The gap in your teeth from a missing tooth removes the pressure that keeps your teeth upright. Lack of tooth replacement for six months can cause the adjacent teeth to move or bend over the gap.
The extreme pressure when you grind your teeth can also shift or damage your teeth in the long run. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to prevent any further damage to your teeth caused by teeth grinding.
Jaw problems like TMJ may also cause adjustments in the alignment of your teeth due to the impaired position of the jaw.
Treatments for orthodontic relapse after braces
If caught early, your dentist can re-adjust the alignment of your teeth through the following dental treatments:
- Clear aligners: Thanks to its clear and removable features, clear aligner trays are the most efficient way to have a straight smile without the struggles of wearing dental braces. They are suitable for minor to moderate teeth adjustments.
- Removable or fixed retainers: Retainers are also helpful in keeping your teeth in place. However, fixed retainer wearers must see their dentist regularly to maintain the bond-related relapse.
There’s still hope for your orthodontic relapse with Build-A-Smile
It is disheartening for our team to see some of our patients get sad and frustrated over their teeth shifting after years of wearing braces. So, we offer an affordable and convenient solution to restore their straight teeth with SureSmile clear aligners in Charlotte.
Schedule an appointment now and get a $250 rebate on your first set of clear aligners with Build-A-Smile.