Orthodontic relapse occurs after orthodontic treatment has been completed. Usually you will notice that the correctly aligned teeth change position into an irregular or previously misaligned condition. Sometimes this occurs rapidly and other times the teeth move slowly out of position.
Your orthodontist will use all the optimum clinical techniques to minimise the chances of relapse. Having said this, the main method of preventing relapse from occurring is the correct wearing of retainers. Retainers are worn once the braces or orthodontic treatment has been completed and removed from your teeth.
Retainers can be fixed and/or removable depending upon your situation. Retainers help teeth to remain in the ideal and corrected position, so that the jawbone and gum surrounding the teeth have an opportunity to adapt to the treatment changes. This helps the teeth to “solidify” in the required alignment.
If retainers are not worn then there could be a relative degree of relapse with the return of any irregularity of the teeth. This will mean that further treatment will become necessary. It is important to note that the additional treatment to address the relapse may be more complex and difficult.
You should follow your orthodontist’s advice about wearing retainers to prevent any unwanted tooth movement after your treatment. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed is the best guarantee of maintaining that great smile for a lifetime.