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Frequently Asked Questions

What Your Orthodontist Might Not Be Telling You

Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith

All too often, I see patients who have previously undergone orthodontics (braces) but have stopped using their retainers. These patients have inevitably experienced some level of relapse, meaning their teeth have moved since orthodontic completion.

What cannot be overemphasized and should be shouted from the rooftops is that once a person is done with braces, they are married to their retainers. Braces move teeth into a position that Mother Nature didn't necessarily originally agree with. Once braces are removed, retainers are used to keep the teeth in this corrected position. If the retainers are not worn, Mother Nature will slowly push the teeth back into the original position they were in prior to braces, hence orthodontic relapse.

What do I mean by "Mother Nature"? The position the teeth originally obtained naturally is a balance between forces of the soft tissue outside of the mouth versus the forces of the soft tissue within the mouth and the contours of the jaws. The natural position of the teeth is found within these opposing forces. Braces will usually position teeth slightly beyond these natural parameters. If the teeth are left unrestrained, then these forces will slowly start to reposition the teeth back inside the envelope of these forces.

The human body is also not static. Slowly, over time, there are minute changes that occur within the facial soft tissue and contours of the jaw that allow for tooth movement. It is a natural progression for the facial contours of a patient to change as they age and for the teeth to move slightly to accommodate this change.

The bottom line is that orthodontics can create healthy, beautiful results. If you want to assure to the greatest degree possible that your results will last, you are married to your orthodontic retainers.

All is not lost if you have experienced tooth relapse since previously having braces. Usually the teeth do not move totally back to their original position and orthodontic retreatment is usually straightforward. Invisalign®, or "clear braces", is a good method of correcting post-orthodontic relapse without having to undergo "braces" a second time.

Please, if you have completed orthodontics, wear your retainers. If you have experienced relapse, 58 Dental can provide you with Invisalign® to correct the position of your teeth and obtain healthy, beautiful results once again.

Kyle Griffith DMD
7090 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO. 80224