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What Causes Failure of Fixed Orthodontic Retention?

What Causes Failure of Fixed Orthodontic Retention?
Posted on 04/21/2022

Retention is the final stage of orthodontic treatment and is the best way to ensure that the positive results you achieved last as long as possible. However, retention is not foolproof, and there are many reasons why teeth can regress to their previous positions over time. At Choonara Orthodontics in Johannesburg, South Africa, we try to help our patients maintain their new smiles long after treatment ends. Here are some of the factors affecting retention and how to maximize results.

Success Rates Vary by Case

Every patient’s orthodontic problems are different, require different treatment approaches, and have varying rates of success. If the malocclusion is severe and very complicated to treat, it is probably more likely to need further intervention down the road, as retainers alone cannot hold those results in place.

Patient Compliance

Especially when it comes to removable retention appliances, patient compliance has the largest impact on whether or not results last. When patients fail to wear their retainers for the recommended amount of time, the teeth can begin to migrate back to their original positions.

Retention Method

Some types of retainers are more effective than others. Removable appliances, as mentioned above, rely on patient compliance to be effective, which is why fixed retainers, which are adhered to the tongue (lingual) side of the teeth, have a higher rate of success.

Health of Surrounding Tissue

Even if the teeth have been straightened, and retention recommendations are being properly observed, whether or not the teeth retain their positions is also dependent on the health of the surrounding tissue and bone that provide their structural support. For example, injury, infection, or disease that affects the mouth, gums, or jaw can easily throw the teeth out of alignment.

Teeth Shift With Age

Every patient will see their results change years later due to the natural migration of teeth over time. Age gradually changes the structure of the face, and therefore the alignment of the teeth as well. This is why retention is the phase of treatment that lasts indefinitely, with variable outcomes.

Contact Your Orthodontist Today

If you are hoping to improve your smile with orthodontic treatment, or have any questions about retention, contact Choonara Orthodontics today. Our team will work with you to create a unique treatment plan to address your individual needs. Request an Appointment and read about the different types of braces we offer to get started.

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