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Teeth shifting after braces



Hi I am currently learning about bones in my anatomy and physiology class. I was just wondering since there are osteocytes that maintain the matrix of your bone structure, why do teeth still move after you have taken your braces off? If you could kindly answer my question, I would appreciate it. Thanks!


There have been many studies done in an attempt to find the cause of return of teeth toward their original position. There are transceptal fibers in the alveolar bone which have elastic fibers in the collagen. In addition, there is a mesial component of force which occurs every time the teeth occlude. Since we do not have grit in our diets such as the aborigine do, some have postulated that there is no natural wear and therefore teeth slip contact.

Bottom line: Wear your retainer; the entire stomatognathic system changes throughout life as we age.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University