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Tooth movement is incredibly common and not just among those who have received orthodontic treatment. For those who have worn braces, you may have followed all the rules and procedures including aftercare, like wearing a retainer, but you still experience something called “orthodontic relapse” or your teeth moving after your brace’s treatment.

We get this question a lot at our orthodontist practice in Darwen, so we thought we would pull together this article to help you in why you might be experiencing tooth movement after your Invisalign treatment and what you can do to prevent and treat it.


Is it Possible for Teeth to Shift After Invisalign Treatment?

Invisalign does an extremely efficient job at moving our teeth into their desired positions to correct malocclusions, however, they cannot move the ligaments that connect teeth to your jawbone. These ligaments are elastic and can be easily manipulated when braces are in use but once taken off, they tend to pull teeth back to where they originally started. Those with a more complex dental issue will find they are affected by relapse more than others, but everyone can be affected by this on some scale.


What Factors Affect Tooth Movement After Wearing Invisalign?

One of the main reasons for teeth moving out of place after finishing Invisalign treatment is the lack of retainer wear. Retainers are custom-made devices that help maintain the new alignment of your teeth and whether removable or fixed, retainers play a crucial role in preventing orthodontic relapse. Other factors affecting the movement of teeth after Invisalign treatment could be:

  • Ageing and Natural Changes – over time, teeth tend to shift as part of the ageing process which is particularly noticeable in the bottom arch, leading to crowding and aesthetic issues. Changes in gum and bone health and underlying health conditions can impact teeth stability and contribute to movement.
  • Oral Habits – habits like teeth grinding (bruxism) can exert pressure on your teeth, causing them to shift. Your orthodontist will advise wearing a nightguard to help protect your teeth from grinding-related movement.
  • Gum Disease – gum disease weakens the gums that support your teeth, making it easier for them to shift. Maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can help prevent this.
  • Tooth Extraction or Missing Teeth – gaps created by tooth extraction can lead to neighbouring teeth shifting to fill the space. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges can help maintain proper alignment. 
  • Trauma or Accidents – any traumatic incident affecting your teeth or jaw can disrupt alignment.



Can Orthodontic Relapse be Prevented?

Yes, orthodontic relapse after wearing Invisalign can absolutely be prevented, diligent retainer use is the most effective form of prevention. Chances are if you have gone through Invisalign treatment and remember to continuously remove and insert your aligners then you will be well practiced when it comes to wearing your retainer. No one is perfect though and if you would prefer not to rely on your memory when it comes to your retainers, then speaking to your orthodontist could help. They may suggest a fixed retainer, however, these are not suitable for everybody as they are only fixed behind the upper or lower front 4 to 6 teeth. This means the remaining teeth can still move, so a removable retainer may be needed as well.

If you notice your teeth have shifted, consult your orthodontist who can assess the extent of the movement and recommend the appropriate course of action. For minor shifts, consistent retainer wear might suffice. However, if significant movement has occurred, your orthodontist may suggest additional treatments, such as braces or a further course of Invisalign.


Can my Retainer Fix the Issue?

While retainers are strong enough to keep your teeth in their desired position, if your teeth have moved, they are not strong enough to move your teeth back to where they were directly after your Invisalign treatment. Using your removable retainer in this way could render it useless, as it will loosen and no longer act as a retention device.


Your Expert Orthodontist in Darwen: How We Can Treat Your Orthodontic Relapse.

If your tooth movement is only minor, it might be possible for you to use your last Invisalign aligner to fix the small degree of shifting you have experienced. However, this shouldn’t be done without consulting your orthodontist first, as attempting to straighten your teeth without guidance can cause pain, damage, and unwanted shifting.

If your tooth movement is significant then it may mean the need to go through Invisalign treatment again. At Darwen Orthodontics we are specialists in Invisalign treatment and can help to guide you through navigating your orthodontic relapse with another course of Invisalign if needed.


Chat with us About Invisalign in Darwen

Teeth shifting after braces, although worrying, doesn’t need to be a cause for despair. Understanding the reasons behind this movement and taking proactive steps can preserve your beautiful smile for years to come. Remember, your orthodontic journey doesn’t end with braces – it continues with responsible retainer use and maintaining good oral hygiene.

 At your specialist orthodontist in Darwen, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Whether it’s preventing teeth movement, addressing minor shifts, or exploring further orthodontic treatments as an adult, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. 

If you’re looking for Invisalign in Darwen, contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you to your lifetime of confident, radiant smiles.

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