Tuckahoe, NY – Have you looked in the mirror recently and thought your smile doesn’t look quite as straight as it once did? You aren’t alone – as you age, it is natural for your teeth to shift over time, whether you’ve had previous orthodontic treatment or not.
“Many adult patients come in seeking orthodontic treatment after they’ve noticed their teeth shifting over time, and this happens both with patients who have previously had braces, and with those who have never had treatment before,” says Dr. Sam Polan of Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics and an Eastchester, Bronxville Orthodontist. “Sometimes it can be a surprise for patients when they notice their teeth shifting, especially for those who have had treatment in the past.”
Tooth movement is a natural part of aging, and many people may not realize that this process continues even after having orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign. Because the teeth will continue to change throughout life, retention after orthodontic treatment is very important. In the past, the importance of retainers wasn’t always emphasized as much as it is now, but today most orthodontists take a more proactive approach toward retention after treatment, and lifetime retention is recommended for most patients.
While orthodontic treatment is very effective at straightening teeth and improving their position, it is not permanent. The good news is that retainers are very effective at minimizing the shifting of teeth after orthodontic treatment, and they are easy to use. Most orthodontists will advise using retainers for a certain period during both the day and the night before eventually switching to wearing them only at night.
Some people may notice that even with consistent retainer use, some shifting may still occur. It is actually common to see small amounts of shifting or settling while using retainers, which is normal and often even beneficial for the bite. As long as you’re wearing your retainers often, your orthodontic result should hold up well over time, although some changes with aging are to be expected.
“If you are worried about your teeth shifting, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist,” says Dr. Polan. “Some patients may not need additional help to correct their smiles, but for those that do, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options to choose from. An orthodontist can help determine the cause and extent of your issue and recommend the correct path forward to correct it.”If you are unhappy with how your smile has shifted, call Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics today at 914-654-1859.