As teeth are moved during treatment, there are changes that occur in the bone and fibers attached to the teeth. These changes cause teeth to become slightly loose. When orthodontics is discontinued this “looseness” still exists. This creates an unstable condition in which teeth can move slightly in all directions.
Over a period of several months, bone begins to “solidify” or “firm up” around the roots of teeth resulting in increasing stability. Retainers, or other retention devices, are necessary to hold teeth straight while this occurs. If retainers are not worn during this critical period, teeth are likely to move out of alignment and require retreatment to re-align them. Even after this critical time, everyone has individual levels of orthodontic stability. While some people rarely need retainers to maintain alignment, others find that nightly retainer wear is required indefinitely to avoid unwanted movement of their teeth.
As the years go by you will notice facial changes occurring which have been genetically predetermined. These changes sometimes have an effect on the stability of your teeth. If you notice any changes, please call us so that corrections can be made while they are still minor. The longer you wait to contact our office, the more difficult the adjustments will be and may even require additional orthodontic treatment.