Will my teeth move back after braces?
Yes, they may in some people, unless you take some precautions.
Many years ago, Orthodontists believed that once the teeth and bite were corrected to the desired positions and retainers worn until the bone and soft tissues adapted to the new tooth positions, then the teeth would stay straight for a many many years.
We now know that this belief was incorrect.
We now know that the teeth can move again in some people who have braces – unless precautions are taken to prevent it happening. The reason for this is quite complex and has much to do with the way each individual’s jaws, muscles and other tissues change with ageing – and all of us age and change a little bit each day.
Impacted wisdom teeth and their “pressure” effect on the front teeth may be a factor as well and many Orthodontists recommend that impacted wisdom teeth be removed.
However this is a controversial topic amongst Orthodontists and it may or may not be recommended, depending on the individual Orthodontist’s training and personal experience.
The problem for the Orthodontist is that they have no way of predicting beforehand who’s teeth will be stable and who’s will not, because there is so much individual variation in the way we change with age.
This is part of the reason why the retention period is so important. As the retainers are eased off over 12 to 24 months, the Orthodontist can see whether the teeth are stable or not.
In those individuals where the teeth appear to be unstable, the Orthodontist would recommend long term or permanent retention, especially of the bottom front teeth.
More and more Orthodontists are now recommending that all their patients who have braces-type treatment, wear their retainers one or two nights a week indefinitely, since this is the only guarantee of stability in the long term.