How Invisalign Can Treat An Orthodontic Relapse

Posted on: 9 March 2022

You might think of a relapse as being related to addiction. Someone who quit drinking or drugs may relapse, for example. But a relapse can also happen in the world of orthodontics. Orthodontic patients who neglect to wear their retainer after their braces are removed can find that their teeth will relapse—essentially attempting to return to their former (non-aligned) position. Does this mean you'll need to start your orthodontic treatment again with a new set of braces?

Reversal of Position

Orthodontic relapse isn't a straightforward reversal of position for your teeth. It's experienced in varying degrees, and for some patients, the results can be mild. However, other patients may find that their relapse needs to be addressed (otherwise all the time you spent wearing your braces feels a bit redundant). It's fortunate that you're unlikely to need dental braces again.

Initial Eligibility

You might have hoped that your orthodontist would have treated your initial problem with Invisalign, but you may not have been eligible at the time. These clear aligners are ideal for minor to moderate orthodontic issues, but for some issues, dental braces will be the most effective solution. While that initial orthodontic problem may have warranted braces, your relapse isn't quite as severe. You may not have been eligible for Invisalign then, but it can be the most convenient way to correct your teeth after relapse.

Treatment Time

It's difficult to gauge the treatment time needed to reverse any relapse since the degree of relapses can vary considerably. Someone starting Invisalign from scratch can expect to be wearing their trays for just over a year, with some cases needing longer. You're not technically starting from scratch, and are correcting a complication arising from earlier orthodontic treatment. This means that any Invisalign-based treatment to correct an orthodontic relapse won't be too punishing.

Express Options

Invisalign in fact has numerous express options, intended for patients whose realignment needs are minor, and this express treatment may only take a few months. Remember, it's impossible for anyone other than your orthodontist to give you a precise time frame. 

Orthodontic relapse is possible with both conventional braces and clear aligners, so you're still at risk of experiencing a future relapse, even after using Invisalign to correct your initial relapse. To ensure that the years to come aren't never-ending cycles of orthodontic treatment, please remember to follow your orthodontist's instructions when it comes to wearing a retainer.