It used to be believed that once dental braces were removed post active treatment, there was no more need for further treatment as adult teeth would be stabilised. This is no longer the case as a scientific study has provided proof that it is very possible for teeth to shift again after being corrected by orthodontic devices. If this does happen, it is best for a patient to contact their orthodontist in Liverpool to find a way forward. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to stick to the retainer wear schedule.
During a consultation for orthodontic treatment, a patient needs to be fully aware of all the factors involved including wearing retainers, the types of suitable retainers and related costs. Any uncertainty about committing to wearing retainers may nullify the hard-won results of the treatment.
Research supports the possibility of teeth movement again after active treatment
A follow-up research project carried out in the US found that 70 percent of patients who had stopped wearing retainers after their teeth-straightening treatment had to be put back on orthodontic retreatment to re-correct teeth that had shifted out of alignment.
The findings of the study has prompted the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to launch a special campaign to educate the public about the necessity of lifelong retainer wear. The Hold That Smile campaign has the single goal of increasing awareness in society of the risk of retreatment if retainers are not worn on a permanent basis. The campaign has received the support of two other UK dental authorities: British Dental Association (BDA) and the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP).
There are many reasons why a patient may stop wearing their retainer. Some of the most common reasons include patients losing or breaking their retainers and not making the effort of replacing or getting them repaired; or simply forgetting to wear them once they get used to not wearing them. Patients are urged to take appropriate action and address any issues that prevent them from wearing retainers, or else they put at risk all that time and money spent on orthodontic treatment.
Retainers play two essential roles post orthodontic treatment. They help in keeping teeth and bones in place in the required position. A second function is that by wearing them, patients are reminded to practice good oral hygiene and become more invested in maintaining optimal dental health..
Tips to help patients stick to their retainer wear schedule
- Retainers can be easily lost so get into the habit of keeping them in their case when not worn – the more brightly coloured the better for high visibility.
- Check for signs of damage regularly and get them repaired as soon as possible.
- Don’t delay replacing lost retainers.
It is really up to the patient to ensure the success of their orthodontic treatment. A patient should be advised of the need for lifelong retainer wear or risk teeth moving out of alignment again. For more information on this topic or if you have a need for a new retainer, please get in touch with your orthodontist.