Posted on 1/30/2020 by First Impressions Orthodontics
|Getting your braces off is an exciting event that can leave you feeling full of freedom to eat anything you want without having to worry about food getting stuck in them or something too hard breaking a bracket.
There will be a period of time after getting your braces off, however, when a commitment to wearing a retainer is often recommended to ensure that your teeth don't begin to shift toward their previous positions.
Why Do Teeth Shift Even After Being Aligned?
Throughout the process of straightening your teeth with braces, they are applying pressure on your teeth, which transfers to the bones around your teeth, causing them to become 'soft', or malleable. These bones will remain soft for as long as you wear your braces, as well as a few months after you get them off. This is the reason a retainer is almost always recommended for this interim period.
More scientifically, there is what is known as remodeling of the bones supporting your teeth, which causes a decrease in bone density and stretching of the fibers that help attach your teeth to the bone. Once braces are off, these fibers will want to return to their original state, which can cause your teeth to shift in the soft bone.
How Long Until My Teeth Solidify?
The length of time it takes for your bone to solidify and further stabilize your corrected alignment will vary and may depend on factors that are beyond your control, even if you wear your retainer. It's estimated that around 50 percent of undesired shifting occurs within 2 years after a patient stops wearing a retainer. However, a typical time frame for wearing a retainer to solidify your teeth is 6 months to 1 year.
Try to be patient with your adjustment to life without braces and follow all of your orthodontist's recommendations for keeping your teeth in proper alignment. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns about your new smile and how to keep it healthy.