I haven’t worn my orthodontic retainers for years and am noticing my teeth are getting crowded again. Can I be “tuned up” again without braces?

This is a real common thing among those of us who had orthodontic treatment in the past.  Our teeth, especially the lower front ones, have a tendancy to want to crowd up again.  Unless we wear a retainer indefinitely (some people actually do but they seem to be a rare species) or have a permanent retainer wire bonded behind the front teeth, this will happen.

However, usually this relapse is no where near as bad as the original situation and can be       “re-tuned” without wires and brackets and all of those dental appointments.  The technique for this uses a series of very thin clear aligners which you wear 24/7.  You can take these out yourself for eating and for brushing/flossing.  Even better they are virtually invisible.  There are more than one of these systems available now but Invisalign TM was the first company to really develop the technology.  The aligners fit over all the teeth of both upper and lower arches and each one of the series moves the teeth about a quarter of a millimeter.  You wear each set of aligners  for two to three weeks. At that point you move on to the next aligner of the series and so on.  Depending on the amount of realignment needed, it can require as little as ten aligners.  The most I’ve ever had to work with was nineteen aligners.  Hence it can take from four to eighteen months to complete the relalignment.

However, you still need some version of long term retainer when it’s done or you eventually may relapse again.

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