Stay In The Know: Orthodontic Relapse

What Is Orthodontic Relapse?

Orthodontic relapse is when a patient who has received orthodontic care experiences shifting of the teeth after treatment.

What Causes Orthodontic Relapse

There are several potential causes of orthodontic relapse. A thorough bite analysis and orthodontic exam will help Dr. Izadi determine the cause of relapse. Izadi Orthodontics looks at the fundamental skeletal relationship in order to correct the functional cause of tooth misalignment promoting lasting results.

Teeth can shift as part of the aging process as the facial structure changes. Tooth loss can also cause teeth to become crooked causing tension and painful symptoms in the jaw. Another cause for orthodontic relapse may be that the initial orthodontic treatment was insufficient or did not address the orthodontic alignment of the skeletal system. Some other reasons that may cause an orthodontic relapse may include:

  • Teeth grinding: If you are a chronic tooth grinder, the force of the grinding will alter your bite and place a strain on your teeth. The repeated tension that is placed will impact how the teeth are positioned, causing them to become misaligned.
  • Genetics: Even if you started with a beautifully straight smile and never needed orthodontics, you may find your teeth shifting as you grow into adulthood, thanks to your genetics.
  • Tooth loss: If you lose a tooth due to decay or periodontal disease, you may find other teeth trying to drift into the open space. This can lead to misalignment of your bite.
  • Aging: Your teeth will naturally shift a bit over time as you age. As your enamel wears, your teeth may be more susceptible to shifting under pressure. This is especially common in the front teeth.

What Are My Treatment Options for Orthodontic Relapse?

Treatment Options for Orthodontic Relapse:
Traditional braces, self-ligating braces or clear aligners may be used to correct an orthodontic relapse. Other patients may only need to use a retainer to adjust their teeth.

How Long Does It Take For Teeth To Relapse?

Relapse means that the teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after treatment. If you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, the retention period will be longer. Usually, retainers are worn for as long a time as you have had your braces.

Can My Teeth Shift Even With A Retainer?

If your teeth are shifting and your retainers are not moving them back into alignment, the retainers need to be adjusted or you need new retainers.


Are you looking for an orthodontist in the Hunt Valley, MDCockeysville, MD, Mays Chapel, MD, Lutherville, MD and Timonium, MD? Begin your orthodontic relapse treatment by contacting our office at (410) 919-9806 or request a consultation online and we will respond to you personally.