Dear Dr. Pompei,
My daughter is currently wearing Invisalign and I am loving her results. I had braces as a teenager but stopped wearing my retainer years ago and have now noticed some shifting in my teeth, do you think Invisalign would work for me?
-Curious in Tudor City
How wonderful that you want to improve your smile! It’s never too late to see an orthodontist and you’re never too old if your teeth and gums are healthy. And why not make a mother-daughter bonding experience out of tooth straightening and bite correcting? How fun.
You are not alone among adults who regret not maintaining the orthodontic results of their youth. Like we tell our patients at retainer check appointments, “Retention is for life…or as long as you want your teeth to stay straight!” Just as teeth respond to the gentle orthodontic forces of light wires or plastic aligners that orthodontists place on dentition for straightening, teeth respond to the forces of the dynamic oral environment, which, like everything else my darling Curious, changes with time and age. The tongue, lips, and cheeks–potential tooth moving forces! Plus, teeth are held to the bone by hundreds of fibers comprising the Periodontal Ligament which gets stretched and pulled as we move teeth into new straighter, more beautiful positions during orthodontic treatment. Those fibers have “memory” and always will be fighting to move teeth back to where they came from before treatment.
Now before you protest at the prospect of a lifetime of regular retainer wear to maintain tooth alignment, dear Curious, I must ask you a question. Say you made the goal of getting into the best shape of your life so you could feel healthy and get back into those skinny jeans you wore when you were 18. You sweat it out at Soul Cycle and ate nothing but spinach and egg whites for a month and then you LOVED your new look. Do you really think you could go back to being a couch potato and keep your physique?? Heavens No! Absurd!
Maintenance, my darling, maintenance. Everything must be maintained or inertia takes over. Teeth are no different.
But I digress. Back to your question. Do I think Invisalign could work for you? How should I know!? I haven’t seen your teeth or your bite or the necessary radiographs to make such a judgement! However, I can say that in general, many adults who had the foundational structures of their occlusion (the fancy word for bite) previously corrected in adolescence are EXCELLENT Invisalign candidates and are quite pleased with the results that can be achieved in re-treatment. I would recommend calling Dr. Bronsky’s office in Tribeca or the Upper East side to make an appointment for a treatment simulation and consultation with one of us orthodontists. And, Bronsky Orthodontics, being the super-cool-high-tech-modern practice we are, can take a 3D photographic scan of your teeth and within minutes show you the new smile you could get with treatment. We will tell you what’s possible, what your options are, and how long it will take.
There is no time like the present, sweet Curious. Seize the day and seize a new smile.