Orthodontist Near Me

No matter if you chose metal braces, ceramic braces, or clear aligners, after you’ve finished treatment, it’s retainer time. By that, we mean that you’ll be given a custom-made orthodontic retainer to wear as much as our Gainesville and Lake City, FL, orthodontists have instructed you to do so. Taking the device out can seem fine in the moment, but repeated neglect can result in retainer relapse.

Here’s an overview of retainer relapse and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Why Your Teeth Can Shift Back 

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 our orthodontists are familiar with though it isn’t ideal.

Retainer relapse can also be tied to:

  • Natural Tendency: Unfortunately, teeth have a natural inclination to shift back to their original positions over time.
  • Age-Related Changes: As we age, our facial structures and oral tissues undergo changes, which can affect tooth alignment.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to teeth shifting.
  • Poor Oral Behaviors: Certain habits, like tongue thrusting, can exert pressure on teeth and cause relapse.

Depending on the degree of tooth movement, there are several ways our orthodontists can treat misalignment after orthodontic treatment. For minimal shifting 1-2 years after 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 our orthodontists may suggest a new phase of treatment though it may prove to be much shorter this time around.

Many patients choose Invisalign® clear aligners or clear ceramic braces for instances of orthodontic relapse as both options are fully capable of correcting misalignment and are more discreet.

Preventing Retainer Relapse From the Start

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 retainers, regular follow-up appointments are also important as part of a comprehensive retention plan. These appointments allow our orthodontists 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.

Retention Strategies for a Lasting Smile

Every patient of ours is unique and thus, requires a personalized, long-term retention plan designed to keep teeth in ideal position. Our orthodontists 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.

Ask for Help With Your Retainer

It can be embarrassing to admit that you haven’t been the best about wearing your retainer. Our orthodontists in Gainesville and Lake City, FL, want you to know, however, that we won’t judge you. We only want to get your smile back on track. Call one of our Progressive Orthodontics locations today to request an appointment.

Get Started Today

If you’re ready to achieve your dream smile, contact our office today!