At Chamberlain Family Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide touch-up treatment for adult patients who want to get their smile back on track! Dr. Chamberlain uses Invisalign and InBrace to address minor alignment problems with a few teeth, often in just a matter of months. If you’ve noticed some shifting in your previously straight smile, you may be wondering what’s causing it and how you can fix it. We can help! Let’s take a closer look at what can cause an orthodontic relapse and how Dr. Chamberlain can use touch-up treatment to correct it.
What is orthodontic relapse?
We use the term orthodontic relapse to describe teeth returning to their original positions after treatment has concluded. Some patients may experience either a short-term or long-term relapse after alignment and bite issues have been corrected. A short-term relapse occurs less than one year post-treatment, while a long-term relapse happens once a year or more has passed. Relapse can happen for a number of reasons, with the most common being irregular retainer use.
There’s still work to do even after treatment is complete, but unfortunately, many patients underestimate the importance of retainers. Once the active phase of treatment is complete, your teeth and the surrounding bone and tissues need a bit of time to settle into their new locations. Wearing a retainer regularly helps protect teeth from drifting back into their prior positions and assists with further stabilization. This isn’t the only factor in an orthodontic relapse, though!
Tooth loss and teeth grinding can also affect your bite. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, the ones surrounding that empty space can begin drifting towards it over time. Grinding your teeth can put a strain on them that may alter the bite and eventually result in misalignment. Genetics and aging play a role in relapse, as well. It’s normal to experience some natural shifting of the teeth as you get older, particularly the lower front teeth.
The clear retainers we use keep your teeth and jaw aligned while helping to protect your teeth from the damage associated with teeth grinding. When worn correctly, they also maintain proper alignment of the teeth when one is lost and prevent shifting from occurring. Many people are under the impression that they can discontinue wearing retainers after a certain amount of time has passed post-treatment. However, studies have found that up to half of all orthodontic patients will experience some form of relapse within ten years of completing their treatment. In fact, this is one reason orthodontists have updated their recommendation on wearing a retainer post-treatment.
For long-term success, most orthodontists agree that retainers should be worn for life. Dr. C and Dr. A believe retention is an important part of the orthodontic process and have always recommended wearing retainers “night time for lifetime”!
How is orthodontic relapse treated?
If your teeth have shifted for any reason in adulthood, there are a few different options for addressing your concerns.
In some cases, regular observation by Dr. Chamberlain may be all that’s needed. If you’ve always worn your retainer as directed and have noticed only minor shifting that doesn’t bother you, Dr. Chamberlain may recommend simply increasing the frequency of retainer checks to monitor your teeth for any further movement.
If Dr. Chamberlain recommends correcting minor movement of your teeth, you probably won’t want to deal with traditional braces again as an adult. Fortunately, our practice gives you other options for restoring your smile! These include Invisalign aligners and InBrace lingual braces.
Touch-up treatment with Invisalign clear aligners is often the best option to address the slight shifting of one or two front teeth. This involves using a series of about 10 clear aligners to progressively move the teeth back into position. Invisalign is an innovative system that offers improved comfort and control, along with highly personalized results. Dr. Chamberlain tailors the tooth movement to your specific alignment issues, with each aligner in the series moving your teeth toward the final goal.
Adults who experience shifting of more than a few teeth may need targeted treatment with Invisalign or InBrace to realign the front teeth. Targeted treatment with clear aligners works similarly to touch-up treatment, but involves more stages. Like Invisalign, InBrace lingual braces are an esthetic way to treat misalignments. After mapping out each tooth movement with the InBrace software, Dr. Chamberlain uses customized trays to cement all the brackets to the back sides of the teeth simultaneously. These work with a pre-programmed smartwire to automatically move your teeth into the final positions designed by Dr. Chamberlain.
Limited treatment options are also available for other cases of mild-to-moderate relapse involving the front upper and/or lower teeth, sometimes known as the “social six.” We know not everyone has the time, finances, or energy for full treatment. Dr. C and Dr. A build every treatment plan around the patient’s goals to ensure they receive a stress-free experience with the results they desire!
Because our fees are based on case complexity, treating orthodontic relapse with Chamberlain Family Orthodontics is much more affordable than people think. We provide touch-up treatment for around $1800 and targeted treatment for $3200-$4400 with initial payments as low as $250. Each case is designed and directly supervised by an experienced orthodontist to recreate the patient’s happiest, healthiest smile.
Restore Your Smile With Chamberlain Family Orthodontics
Touch-up treatment with Chamberlain Family Orthodontics can help restore your smile and improve your oral health. Dr. Chamberlain has years of training and experience correcting alignment and bite issues. By combining customizable treatment options like Invisalign and InBrace with Dr. Chamberlain’s expertise, we can give you the best results in the least amount of time possible! If you’d like to learn more about touch-up treatment in our Redlands or Beaumont office, click here to schedule a FREE in-office or virtual consultation.