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How to Prevent Your Child's Teeth From Shifting After Braces

Keeping teeth straight after braces is an important part of orthodontic treatment and it may be disheartening for patients who have just had their braces removed to see their teeth shifting.

However, maintaining your child’s smile after braces is easier than you might think, as long as they take care of their teeth and follow the instructions given by your local kid's dentist.

At Marlborough Dental Centre, we offer affordable children & adult dentistry services for patients seeking to straighten their teeth. From dental veneers to Invisalign, we help you achieve and keep that healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.

Why Do Teeth Shift After Braces?

As a parent of an orthodontic patient, it’s important to be aware that teeth are dynamic and always moving as pressure and force is applied to them, even after you’ve had braces.

As your kids' dentist will tell you, teeth may shift in response to many things including:

  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Dental restoration
  • Certain lifestyle habits including smoking and/or nail biting
  • Age and changes in facial structure


You should talk to your kid’s dentist if you notice your child’s teeth moving after the braces are removed.

While this is a normal process, the sooner you notice the problem, the more likely only a simple change or adjustment of the retainer will be needed. Drastic changes may require your child to wear braces again to shift the teeth back to where they were.

What Happens After The Braces Are Removed?

The process of teeth straightening doesn’t end with the removal of braces. Your dentist will recommend a level of aftercare that should be maintained in order to protect the investment you’ve made.

Mouth Evaluation

After the braces have been removed, your kids' dentist may want to evaluate how well the teeth have been aligned. If the patient is a child or teenager, the teeth will be examined to determine if there has been a growth of wisdom teeth.

If so, your dentist may advise having a wisdom tooth removal as the emergence of these teeth could affect the alignment of the teeth that have been straightened.



The natural shifting of teeth is inevitable as one grows into an adult and then ages. This is also true for teeth that have been shifted with braces.

To prevent this movement and maintain the alignment of corrected teeth, your kids' dentist can tailor make an orthodontic device called a retainer for your child. This retainer can either be fixed or removable.


Removable retainers are those that can be put in and taken out of the mouth. Your dentist will advise on how often they need to be worn, but in most cases, you’ll only need to wear them at night.

Some of the advantages of removable retainers include:

  • Easier access for brushing and/or flossing
  • Less prone to breakage during meals
  • Easier to clean & maintain
  • Typically only need to be worn at nighttime
  • They are clear & virtually invisible

However, with removable retainers, their effectiveness depends highly on whether or not the patient remembers to wear them.

In addition, they are:

  • Easier to misplace than fixed retainers
  • More prone to breakage
  • Slightly inconvenient to remove at mealtimes and when brushing


In certain cases, your kids dentist may recommend a fixed retainer as the better option.

The bonded retainer is permanently fixed to the back of your teeth by the dentist and can only be removed by a professional.

Some of the advantages of fixed retainers include:

  • Less visible than removable retainers
  • You don’t have to worry about remembering to wear it
  • They are less likely to be misplaced or lost

While fixed retainers may be more acceptable in social situations, they have some drawbacks including:

  • You have to be careful about what you eat
  • They are more difficult to clean
  • They make brushing and flossing more difficult

In certain cases, it may even be necessary to use both permanent and removable retainers to ensure relapse doesn’t occur. It’s important to discuss your options with the kids dentist to determine which choice best suits your child’s needs and lifestyle.

Not sure which is the right option for your child?


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