Can My Teeth Shift After Invisalign Treatment?

Can My Teeth Shift After Invisalign Treatment?

You begin orthodontic treatment with a whole lot of anticipation. As the months tick by, and with some work and discipline on your part, the excitement level intensifies. You can’t wait to see the smile you’ve only imagined, the reward for all of your time and effort.

Once it’s time to ditch that last set of Invisalign® aligners, you’re more than ready. But as you near the end of treatment, you begin to wonder about keeping your teeth from shifting after active treatment ends.  

Take a moment as Dr. Meriem Boukadoum at 54th Street Dental shares her insights on the science behind orthodontics, and more importantly, how understanding it helps you keep your new beautiful smile for a lifetime.

Invisalign: Orthodontic treatment that’s under the radar

Let’s start by making sure we explain what makes Invisalign different from other treatment options available, and what you can expect during your plan.

When it comes to advances in orthodontics, nothing comes close to the paradigm shift in orthodontics when Invisalign hit the market in 1999. 

Gone are the social stigma and embarrassment of metal mouth and headgear. Also, say goodbye to discomfort during treatment, and the seemingly endless slathering of dental wax just to protect your cheeks and mouth from those pesky wires.

Almost miraculously, Invisalign makes it possible to capture the smile you’ve always wanted without another big failing of braces. You can remove your Invisalign aligners when eating or drinking, which means not picking food debris from your braces all day long.

Not surprisingly, Invisalign also ushered in new opportunities for adults who didn’t want or need braces as a child but need them later in life. 

With Invisalign’s proprietary crystal-clear, flexible thermoplastic known as SmartTrack™, teens and adults can enjoy a more comfortable orthodontic experience under the radar since the aligners are virtually undetectable.

If Dr. Boukadoum deems you a good candidate for Invisalign, she takes digital impressions of your teeth and uploads the information into a computer, which maps your treatment plan. Included are specifics such as how many sets of aligners you’re going to need and how frequently you change sets. 

You need to wear your aligners 20-22 hours per day, but you can conveniently remove them to eat and drink.

Orthodontic treatment explained

Regardless of whether you choose Invisalign or traditional braces for your orthodontic treatment, the underlying concept is the same: Each one applies gentle pressure to shift your teeth into their optimal positions.

It all comes down to a process called ossification and two specialized types of bone cells: osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Here’s how ossification works.

As your teeth abandon their old positions in the Invisalign process, osteoclasts break down old bone, which is then reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Once the teeth reach their new location, osteoblasts swing into action to form new bone. And every time you chew or bite, osteoblasts kick into overdrive to strengthen the bone.

Teeth must stabilize after active treatment

There’s nothing quite like the final day in your Invisalign treatment plan, but keep one thing in mind. While active treatment has ended, remember that bone tissue is a living thing, so the very science that makes orthodontics possible can also undo all of your hard work.

 When your active treatment ends, it takes time for your teeth to stabilize and settle in their new locations. While it’s true that further shifting can happen, with discipline and compliance, you can maintain your gorgeous smile for a lifetime with one simple oral appliance: a retainer.

Dr. Boukadoum typically recommends a custom-made removable retainer after active treatment. Your dentist provides specific instructions on how long to wear the retainer, and she monitors any tooth movement. 

Expect to wear your retainer every day, day and night, for the first three months or so after active orthodontic treatment ends. After that, many patients may be weaned off from daytime wear to overnight while sleeping.

If you’re ready to capture your best smile, contact 54th Street Dental today to schedule a consultation. Request an appointment online or call our office in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City at 212-333-3200.

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