Teens aren’t the only ones getting braces in the modern world! Orthodontic treatment for adults is much more common than you might think. In fact, one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult! Parks, Schmit, & Fuller Orthodontics offers better retreatment options for adults with shifting teeth than ever before – and that means getting braces or clear aligners to give you the smile tune-up you need is a no-brainer!
From forgetting to wear your retainer after treatment to the natural course of time, your teeth may shift out of line. Don’t worry! Your team at Parks, Schmit, & Fuller is here to give you back your confident smile. Here’s how.
Reasons Your Teeth Shift After Treatment
Most people believe that orthodontic treatment is as simple as wearing braces or clear aligners for a few years. While this is certainly a major part of the process, orthodontic treatment isn’t over the day your orthodontist takes your braces off! Whether you’re a kid, teen, or adult, straightening your teeth requires two steps: active treatment and retention.
Active treatment is the big show. This period is when you’ll wear braces or clear aligners to pull your teeth in line. During this time, you’ll meet with your orthodontist every few weeks to track your progress, and after your orthodontist gives you the all-clear, you’ll move forward to the next phase.
Retention is where most patients begin seeing a shift in their smile. It is essential to understand that this phase of treatment is equally as important as active treatment. This phase begins right after active treatment ends and lasts throughout your lifetime.
Remember that during active treatment, your teeth were under very strict, very straight conditions. Without the brackets and wires keeping them in place, your teeth have much more freedom to move around – and they tend to want to return to their old positions. Retention helps keep your teeth in place while they settle into their new positions, giving you a longer-lasting smile.
For patients who lose their retainer or forget to wear it for the recommended time, orthodontic relapse is a potential reality.
All About Orthodontic Relapse
If you forgot to wear your retainer as a teen, you’re not alone. Our orthodontists recommend that you wear your retainer for 22 hours per day for a year after treatment. Then, you should wear it every night for the rest of your life.
Although this is a standard process, many adult patients seek retreatment because they neglect their retainers after their first round of braces. Without the retainer, your teeth could face short-term or long-term relapse.
This form of relapse occurs shortly after your orthodontist removes your braces. Short-term relapse happens when your teeth shift back to their original positions less than one year after active treatment.
This form of relapse can occur at any time throughout your life, which is exactly why retainers are so important to the treatment process. If your teeth begin to appear crooked a year or more after treatment, you’re experiencing a long-term relapse.
Retainers Are Maintainers!
Wearing your retainer is a huge part of avoiding shifting smiles. Whether you have a removable or permanent retainer, these appliances play a major factor in how straight your teeth remain once treatment brings them to a baseline.
Without wearing your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist, your teeth will likely shift into their original positions over the long or short term. In some cases, they can shift in as little as a few days; in other cases, it takes years. Either way, you may need a second round of treatment to pull them back into line and give you a straight smile you’ll love.
Here’s How We Can Help
Watching your teeth slowly shift back to their old positions can be upsetting, but our Parks, Schmit, & Fuller Orthodontics team is here to help. There are several potential treatment routes to ease your smile back in shape.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as getting a new retainer! If you’re dealing with a short-term or minor relapse, the Parks, Schmit, & Fuller Orthodontics team can fit you for your next retainer. With only slight movement, your teeth are usually straight enough that minor adjustments can fix the problem quickly.
Another Round of Braces
If you’re dealing with long-term or major relapse, your best treatment method is usually a second round of braces or clear aligners. Don’t let that thought scare you! Because you’ve already had braces, you’ll likely enjoy a shorter treatment duration.
You’ll also be in good company: one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18. With modern technology at work, Parks, Schmit, & Fuller Orthodontics offers the most comfortable and discreet treatment options available, including:
Clear Braces: Like metal braces, this treatment option uses a system of brackets and wires to straighten your teeth and is effective for patients with moderate to severe orthodontic issues. Instead of metal braces, however, clear braces use white ceramic brackets that match the color of your teeth, so your treatment is less visible.
Clear Aligners: Our clear aligner treatment is a great option for adult patients looking to straighten their smile without the bulky brackets and wires of braces. Using a series of clear aligner trays custom-made to fit your unique smile, clear aligners straighten your teeth with comfort and ease.
Depending on your orthodontic condition, clear aligners may be a great option for adults looking to straighten their smile without attracting notice.
Metal Braces: This treatment method is excellent for patients with moderate to severe orthodontic issues following a long-term relapse. They’re a durable and reliable option that ensures your treatment runs smoothly and effectively. With a system of brackets and wires, these braces straighten your teeth by applying constant, gentle pressure.
The Bottom Line: We’ve Got You Covered
We know how frustrating it can be to watch your straight teeth become crooked again, but we also know how to find a solution that works for you. Our retreatment options for adults are comfortable, discreet, and effective, so don’t wait! Schedule your free consultation at our Cedar Rapids, or Marion offices today!