I've come across many forums where people complain about shifting of teeth after braces have been removed. Either they forgot to wear their retainer or the bonded retainer wire on the back of their teeth fell off. It surprises me that almost no-one asks why this happens. Are we just supposed to accept that this is how things work? I remember questioning this before I did my major research. I used to say to myself, "What's up with this, an unstable result? What have I let them do to my mouth?" I at least wish they would've explained things before treatment. Some people still don't get this information and it's upsetting to me. In my opinion having to wear a retainer for the rest of your life involves a big risk. Let's say I go on a trip where I travel for more than 24 hours and my sleep is irregular for a week or so due to jetlag. Or if I get a kid and forget to wear the retainer for a couple of nights because of the chaos that occurs. Or if the bonded retainer falls off while you're on a trip (I had this happen recently).
Before I did my research I asked a dentist about shifting of teeth after the wire fell off and she told me the whole thing is one big experiment. Orthodontists ask themselves if the number of years you wear the retainer is related to whether they will shift or not. After reading a lot about the topic I found a whole bunch of American websites that stated that if you don't solve the jaw problems (that almost always seem to be the culprit to begin with) the amount of time that you wear the retainer will be of no importance and that life-long retention is the safest. I would rather solve the underlying problems! Such techniques exist too, and they have been available for decades. But instead they choose to aggravate the problem. Seeing it from that perspective, I don't blame the teeth for wanting to return to their original position! ;)
I found a blog written by a person who lost her retainer and her teeth started shifting right away. She went back to the orthodontist to consult them and they said they made a mistake by not removing teeth because of crowding. Like that was the reason for the shifting. Where did that statement come from, was it just a wild guess? From what I've heard risk of shifting increases if you have teeth pulled. This is because the dental arches are made smaller leading to decreased tongue space among other things.
How about at least providing the patient with some theories. Or are they trying to evade the fact that they ignored a big problem with the mouth that still remains?