The Women's Journal

Relapse After Braces

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Dr Mazoch editedBy Anna Marie Mazoch, D.D.S.

We often see patients who fail to wear their retainers after having orthodontic treatment (braces). This noncompliance can result in relapse back to crowding, rotations, or opening of spaces between teeth. Usually, if the relapse is severe, it is best to retreat with braces again. However, at times, if the relapse is mild, then a minor, less expensive bonding or veneers may be all that is necessary to regain a nice appearance.

This example is a young man, Mr. S., whose teeth started to spread apart after orthodontic treatment, but he didn’t want to have braces all over again. The rest of his bite, on his back teeth, was satisfactory. In his particular case, his real teeth were too small for his mouth and his face. Rather than redo the braces, we decided to place porcelain veneers to close the contacts and to make his teeth larger, more natural looking and more cosmetically appealing.  Often, when placing only a few veneers, we will lighten the existing teeth with tooth whitening procedures. This was unnecessary in Mr. S’s case, since his teeth are naturally a lighter shade.

The procedure for porcelain veneers usually involves preparing the teeth by shaving away some of the enamel. If there is a need for a change in the shade (color) or a need for a change in the shape of the tooth, then more tooth structure will need to be shaved away. Impressions and photographs are taken to select the best match for shape and shade. Temporary, resin veneers are cemented to the teeth for a few weeks while a local dental laboratory constructs the porcelain veneers. If the shade selection is difficult, we often have our patients visit the lab for a “custom” shade match. At the final cementation visit, the veneers are tried in for patient inspection and approval.  They are then specially treated, bonded into place, adjusted, cleaned, and polished. As you can see, veneers can look very natural and will last a very long time, as long as the patient brushes and flosses thoroughly and avoids chewing fingernails, holding nails in the mouth and placing any other foreign objects in the mouth  (including tongue piercings).


Mr. S. has been very satisfied with his result. Here is what he has to say about his new veneers:

“I’m thankful for Dr Mazoch and her staff. I had braces as an adult but a gap still remained. Dr Mazoch suggested bonding as an option to complete my desired look. After walking me through the procedure and addressing any concerns of mine, we set up an appointment to begin work. The resulting smile speaks for itself. What impressed me the most was the helpfulness of Dr. Mazoch and her staff!”

Dr. Anna Marie Mazoch received her B.S. degree in Biology, summa cum laude, from Ohio University and her D.D.S. from Northwestern University. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Delaware State Dental Society and several local dental study clubs. She has been practicing general dentistry for 32 years, first in Cincinnati, then Montpelier, Vermont, and the past 11 years in Delaware. Her keen interest in continuing education for herself and her staff stems from a quote by G. V. Black, the first dean of Northwestern University Dental School and the father of modern dentistry: “The professional (wo)man has no right to be other than a continuous student”.

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