How Long Do Teeth Straightening Treatments Last?

teeth straightening San Jose, CA

When you invest in teeth straightening treatments, like braces or Invisalign®, it is important to think of what comes after you stop wearing them. You might wonder how long teeth straightening treatments last. Well, it all depends on how you treat your teeth afterward.

Extending the longevity of teeth straightening treatments

When people want a straight smile, they usually only consider the time that is actively spent straightening the teeth. This goes for people using any form of orthodontic treatment. Many do not realize that retention is just as important. This means keeping the teeth straight even after finishing the dental treatment. It is possible to ensure teeth do not ever move back, especially when people understand why this can happen.

Why teeth move back

Braces and other orthodontic techniques can be quite effective at moving a person’s teeth into a normal position rather than the gapped or crooked way the teeth sat before. However, braces cannot move the ligaments connecting the jawbone to a person’s teeth. These ligaments were stretched during the dental treatment. So, after completing the orthodontic treatment, these elastic ligaments will try and pull a person’s teeth into the natural starting position.

Removable retainers

There are clear, plastic retainers available to wear on the top and bottom sets of teeth. These are often used once braces are taken off. These new retainers can be removed when it is time for someone to eat or brush their teeth. Other than those circumstances, the patient can leave the retainers in all day and all night, so teeth keep the correct position. After a few months, the patient can switch the retainers to night use only.

Fixed retainers

The bottom set of teeth are especially prone to move back to the previous positions after braces. Thus, some patients will decide on a fixed wire that is placed on the inside of the bottom teeth. This new wire will keep the teeth in place. It will remain there permanently, or at least for a few years. A dental team or orthodontist may recommend one of several types of fixed retainers.

How long retainers are needed?

Every person is different. The length of time it is necessary to wear a retainer will be dependent on what problems the teeth straightening treatment was used for. The treatment plan and the teeth’s reaction to it will play a role in how long the dentist will recommend a retainer for.

A nightly retainer can be used indefinitely, especially if a person is prone to clenching or grinding teeth at night. Minor movements of the teeth should be expected as people age. It is unrealistic to expect teeth to retain the newly straightened appearance forever without any maintenance and follow up. It is important to follow all dental recommendations, both during and after treatment.

Keep teeth straight longer

If you want to improve your teeth straightening treatment, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about their suggested retainer options. Wearing a retainer is normal, so keep them in mind after completing your orthodontic treatment. Keep your smile straight longer.

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