My teeth shifted as I discontinued wearing the retainer. How long will it take for the teeth to realign if I start the treatment again?

Q. How long does it take for the teeth to align back in position with retreatment after an orthodontic relapse?

Answered by
Dr. Mayank Khandelwal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 08, 2023 and last reviewed on: Jul 28, 2023

Hello doctor,

My teeth shifted after braces, and I accidentally lost my retainer at work and could not afford a new one then. My last orthodontic treatment left gaps, crooked teeth, and crossbites. How severe is my case, and how long treatment will I need again? I am attaching pictures of my teeth. Kindly suggest.



Welcome to

Retainers are an important part of orthodontic treatment as they hold the teeth in the corrected position until the bone beneath gets matured enough and does not allow them to return to previous positions. This process takes about 10 to 11 months, so it is advised to wear the retainers for at least one year. Seeing the pictures attached (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity), your case is not severe. You can look for alternatives to braces, which are aligners, as your case is in the mild category currently. If you are uncomfortable with aligners for economic reasons, you can opt for braces. It should not take more than six months to finish your case with all the corrections. At this time, do not get the debonding done unless you are satisfied with the treatment. Once you are completely satisfied, then only go for debonding. You should get the treatment done. The case is under the mild category, with the duration of active orthodontic treatment approximately six months, followed by retainers. Thank you.

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