Q10 : Do the treated teeth ever relapse?

Teeth always move upon appliance removal. That is why teeth must be thoroughly aligned in the arch and harmonized with the TMJs prior to appliance removal, so that undue forces will not displace the well-aligned teeth after appliance removal. The aligned teeth, not yet stable at their new position, are kept in place by the use of a retainer.

Overcorrections are made in many cases. For example, rotated teeth are intentionally overrotated in the other direction to compensate for an expected relapse. One of the causes of relapse is that the fibers of the gum have a memory of tooth position. Research has found that these fibers with the memory rotate the teeth back toward their original positions. A solution to this problem is a surgical procedure of cutting the fibers under anesthesia. However, if the jaw position is not corrected, it becomes very difficult to obliterate the tendency for relapsing.

retainer for orthodontic treatment retainer for orthodontic treatment
This is a retainer. This is how it looks when wearing a retainer.