Will You Need Aligners More Than Once?

Will You Need Aligners More Than Once?
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Will You Need Aligners More Than Once?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. How Many Times Will I Need Aligners?
  2. Causes of Teeth Shifting
  3. Prevention
  4. Costs
  5. Protect Your Smile
  6. References
Ideally, you won’t need aligners more than once. But teeth shifting can happen, so choose a company that offers a guarantee.

How Many Times Will I Need Aligners?

One concern many people have about both in-office and mail-order teeth straightening aligners is aftercare. 

What happens if the treatment doesn’t deliver the results they want, and more aligners are needed? What happens if the treatment appears successful, but after time, the teeth move and are no longer straight? Will you need clear aligners more than once?

Every person is different. While some of today’s advanced aligner options offer smart technology and accessories designed to ensure long-lasting results, teeth shifting can occur, especially for those with certain conditions, like gum disease or teeth grinding. 

Preventative measures, such as good oral hygiene, following all maintenance procedures laid out in your aligner treatment program, and addressing any grinding habits can help to ensure your smile stays intact. Because shifting can happen, it’s important to choose a clear aligner provider that guarantees their product and provides service if your teeth shift.

What Causes Teeth to Shift After Treatment?

Teeth shifting is actually normal and to be expected during the aging process. Teeth are connected to the jawbone by ligaments and other materials that allow for movement.

While teeth shifting is normal, certain conditions can speed up the shifting process or cause problematic shifting.

These conditions may cause teeth shifting:

Grinding your teeth (bruxism)
Grinding your teeth while you sleep can cause serious dental problems, including the loosening and shifting of teeth.
Sleep apnea
In this case, it’s not the condition itself that causes teeth shifting, but the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device used to treat it. The pressure produced by the CPAP device has been show to shift anterior teeth.1
Tooth decay and gum disease

Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to severe dental and health problems, including loose and shifting teeth. The bacteria in dental plaque presents a challenge to the body’s immune system and results in inflammation

Both the bacteria and the body’s immune response begin attacking the tissue that attaches teeth to the jawbone. The results are damaged gums and unstable teeth.

Preventing Teeth Shifting After Alignment Treatment

While some teeth shifting is natural, especially with aging, there are steps you can take to make sure your smile stays put.

Wear your retainer and follow all maintenance directions outlined in your treatment plan.

The period after your clear aligner treatment is a sensitive one. Your teeth have gone through some movement, and they now need time to adjust to their new positioning. They will try to shift back if you don’t wear the retainer specific to your treatment. 

Retainers keep your new straight teeth in place as they reposition themselves into the soft tissue of your mouth and reacquaint themselves with the jaw bone. The period directly following treatment is the most important time to wear your retainer vigilantly.

Practice good oral hygiene.

To avoid gum problems that can cause severe dental problems and teeth shifting, stay on top of your oral care.

  • Brush at least twice a day for two minutes.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use mouthwash.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, limiting sugar and sweet snacks.
  • Quit smoking and address any tooth-grinding habits.
  • Keep up with dental checkups and appointments.

How Much Will lNew Aligners Cost If Your Teeth Shift?

The possibility of needing a smile tune-up after teeth shifting is one reason it’s so important to choose an aligner provider that offers a product and service guarantee. 

The costs associated with aligner aftercare or shifted teeth after an alignment treatment depend entirely on the provider you completed treatment with and what their requirements are for any promised warranty or guarantee. 

Some aligner providers offer guarantees on their services after treatment.

  • byte offers a very straightforward Byte for Life guarantee, which ensures that if you smile shifts out of place, you’ll be eligible for a new evaluation and alignment set free of charge.
  • SmileDirectClub extends a Lifetime Smile Guarantee to patients who wear their retainer as prescribed and replace the retainer ($99) every six months. 
  • ALIGNERCO customers can pay an additional fee (starting at $499) for WorryFree protection, which covers the replacement of retainers.

Protecting Yourself From a Shifting Smile

While some tooth movement is natural, you can prevent the need to wear aligners more than once by wearing your retainer as directed and practicing good dental hygiene. You can also protect your investment by choosing an aligner provider that offers a fair guarantee on their product.

General References 

Why Does Teeth Shifting Happen? Colgate. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Bruxism. John Hopkins Medicine. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Periodontal Gum Disease. (September 2013). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Tooth Wear and Aging. (May 2019). Australian Dental Journal. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Aging and Dental Health. American Dental Association. 

Teeth Separating, Loose and Shifting. Gum Brand. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer After Your Braces Come Off? Colgate. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health. Mayo Clinic. Date Fetched: April 5, 2022.

Best Teeth Aligners of 2022. (January 2022) Forbes Health. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Medical References

1 Tooth Movement Associated with CPAP Therapy. (April 2018). Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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