Most adults remember the moment they got their braces removed as teenagers. As Dr. Chad Carver, DMD, at Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington, knows, braces are a rite of passage for teens. Unfortunately, the straight teeth you saw back then might not have stood the test of time.
Why teeth shift after braces
If you’re struggling with crooked teeth as an adult, after having braces during your teenage years, you’re not alone. Many adults struggle with shifting teeth after braces. This can happen for many reasons, including:
Not wearing your retainer.
Forgetting to wear your retainer regularly is one of the most common reasons your teeth can shift after braces. In general, your family ortho will recommend wearing your retainer for at least 12 months after your braces are removed. However, the American Academy of Orthodontists strongly recommend wearing a retainer to bed for the rest of your life.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, occurs when you grate your teeth together. Teeth grinding is most common during times of stress, but it often happens when you’re asleep. This makes bruxism difficult to manage on your own.
Over time, bruxism can put enough pressure on your teeth to cause tooth erosion, including cracks and chips in your smile. Without treatment, like orthodontics, teeth grinding can even shift your teeth out of alignment.
Impacted wisdom teeth
While rare, impacted wisdom teeth can shift your tooth alignment if your mouth doesn’t have enough room to support them. This is especially true if you’re experiencing pain from wisdom teeth. When one side of your mouth is in pain, it’s common to chew and bite down on the other side more often. Eventually, this overcompensation can change the alignment of your bite.
Getting Invisalign after braces
Whether you stopped wearing your retainer too soon or never sought treatment for teeth grinding, Invisalign is a discreet option for straightening your teeth without adult braces.
How Invisalign works
Invisalign is a system of removable clear aligners that you wear for about 22 hours a day. These BPA-free plastic aligners are translucent and mold to the shape of your teeth, so nobody will be able to tell when you’re wearing them.
The treatment works similarly to traditional braces. As you wear your aligners, Invisalign gradually shifts your teeth into the correct position. This is an effective option for adults with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, such as:
If you’ve had braces in the past, your original treatment likely corrected any complex orthodontic problems you had. That’s why Invisalign is often recommended for adults who already had braces.
Benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign offers many benefits for adults who have already had braces in the past, including:
Short treatment time
Invisalign can straighten malaligned teeth and correct mild to moderate bite issues in as little as 6-18 months. By comparison, traditional braces typically take around 18 months to three years.
Many adults feel embarrassed at the thought of wearing braces to work. Fortunately, clear aligners are nearly invisible to others.
Better oral hygiene
One of the greatest complaints about braces is how difficult it can be to brush and floss your teeth. Because clear aligners are removable, you can take Invisalign out to care for your teeth as you normally would.
Invisalign is a completely digital process. If you need adjustments to your plan, Dr. Carver can make them directly in the Invisalign software. You also don’t need to come in to have your wires tightening, like you do with braces. As a result, you may only have to visit Stellar Family Orthodontics once every 6-8 weeks.