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Article: Volume 2 Number 2 Page 38 - April 2009

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  Orthodontic Update 6: 38-44

Orthodontics:  Why do Orthodontic Cases Relapse?

CPD:  CPD  2:00   (closed)      Self assess

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Abstract: Relapse is one of the commonest risk factors in orthodontics. Post-treatment changes following orthodontics could be due to periodontal or occlusal factors, but they can also be due to soft tissue changes and growth. Soft tissue changes and growth are beyond an orthodontist’s control, and this explains the unpredictable nature of orthodontic relapse. Patients need to be informed of the unpredictable nature of relapse before they begin treatment, and the possible need for long-term retention to help reduce the amount of relapse.

Clinical relevance: Orthodontic relapse is a potential risk for every orthodontic patient. If we can understand why cases relapse, we may be able to reduce the amount of relapse.

Author notes: SJ Littlewood, BDS, FDS(Orth) RCPS, MDSc, MOrth RCS, FDS RCS, Consultant Orthodontist, St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, BD5 0NA, JS Russell, BDS, MFDS RCPS, MDSc, MOrth RCS, Consultant Orthodontist, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesborough, TS4 3BW and RJ Spencer, BDS, FDS(Orth) RCS, MSc, MOrth RCS, Consultant Orthodontist, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, WF1 4DG, UK.

Objective: To understand different types of relapse following orthodontic treatment and explain the clinical implications of relapse for both the patient and clinicians.

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