When you got your braces off, your orthodontist gave you a retainer and told you how often to wear it and for how long. If you didn’t follow the instructions because you got tired of wearing a retainer, you lost it, or it broke and you never replaced it, chances are your teeth are not as straight as they used to be. This is the most common reason why people need orthodontic treatment again. In fact, up to 50% of adult orthodontic patients had braces when they were younger but didn’t wear their retainers.
Orthodontic treatment shifts your teeth into a new position, but it does not move the ligaments that attach your teeth to your jawbone, so if you don’t continue to hold them in place by wearing your retainer, the ligaments will slowly move your teeth back to their original position. Even if you have a permanent one behind your teeth, you will still need to wear a removable one at night. Keep in mind your permanent retainer generally only adheres to four or six teeth.
Another cause of crooked teeth after braces is wisdom teeth. These teeth don’t develop in the back of your mouth until your late teens or early twenties, so if you had braces before they arrived and they find themselves fighting for space in your mouth, they may cause your other teeth to shift out of place. Although, if you are wearing your retainers as instructed, the alignment of your teeth will not be effected by your wisdom teeth.
Why Having Braces Again Won’t Be as Bad as You Think
The good news is your crooked teeth can be straightened again, and treatment most likely won’t take as long as it did the first time. As long as you see an orthodontist soon after your teeth start shifting they shouldn’t be as out of place as they were before you had braces. This will make straightening them not that big of an issue.
There are many options available now other than metal braces, so correcting your smile won’t be obvious to your co-workers or employer. Invisalign aligners are practically invisible and offer shorter treatment times for less severe issues. Ceramic braces offer the same treatment as metal braces, but are less visible because the brackets blend in with your teeth. And if a correction is very minor, a spring retainer can be used to guide the teeth back into place and keep them there – only if you continue to use it, of course.
Why You Shouldn’t Put It Off
Just because you’re not a teen anymore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about your smile. Crooked teeth are not just a cosmetic issue, they can cause dental problems too. Crowded and misaligned teeth can cause gum recession, which can lead to the need for gum grafts. Misaligned teeth can also wear unevenly or cause jaw pain, making it difficult to chew.
If you think you might need braces again, for whatever reason, come see us for a free initial exam at our Mount Pleasant office or one of our other convenient locations near Charleston. We can determine how much your teeth have moved and the proper treatment to get you back to your spectacular smile.