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Do Invisalign Aligners Work After Someone Has Already Worn Braces?
While no one hopes for teeth to shift after wearing braces, people can often turn to Invisalign® plastic aligners to make adjustments if undesirable changes to the teeth ever do occur. Continue reading to learn common reasons why teeth move after braces and how plastic aligners can help.
Why do teeth move after braces?
While both braces and plastic aligners are effective at moving teeth during treatment, patients must wear retainers after the treatments to keep teeth in the new position. Typically, patients are required to wear fixed or removable retainers full time for about six months after finishing braces, during which bones surrounding the teeth regenerate and ligaments are able to shrink back to normal. After this recovery period, most patients need to wear retainers every night while they sleep. The most common reason teeth shift after braces is that the patient stops wearing retainers or does not wear them as frequently.
How can Invisalign® help?
Invisalign® can help straighten crooked teeth and make other changes to the structure of the mouth, including fixing a misaligned bite, overcrowding or minor gaps in teeth. However, rather than using metal wires and anchors to move teeth into place, a set of custom plastic aligners are used to shift teeth into the desired position over time. Depending on the situation, attachments may be placed on the teeth or rubber bands might be used to achieve results. The aligners can be removed from the teeth for cleaning and meals but are often required to be worn for at least 22 hours a day.
Benefits of Invisalign®
For patients who have experienced shifting after wearing braces in the past, either braces or plastic aligners can be worn to move the teeth back to the desired position. There are many benefits of choosing plastic aligners, including a more discreet appearance and freedom to eat foods that are restricted with metal braces. Additionally, aligners often only cause minor discomfort and require a shorter treatment time than braces. Adults with a busy schedule can also appreciate the fact that aligners often requires less office visits than metal braces.
While many people can benefit from Invisalign® if teeth have moved after braces, it is not the right solution for everyone. There are some major changes only braces can address, such a midline movement, intrusion or extrusion or very large gaps in teeth. Additionally, if the patient has received any dental work since braces have been taken off, such as porcelain crowns or a dental bridge, plastic aligners might not be possible. Patients also need to be disciplined enough to wear the aligners for the full 22 hours a day.
Braces are an expensive, lengthy treatment that can be uncomfortable for patients, and many people do not wish to repeat this treatment option if teeth shift or become crooked. Invisalign® is one solution to consider for patients who want to move teeth back into the desired position more conveniently.
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