Book Online

Should You Use an Old Retainer If Your Teeth Have Moved?

Posted .

person holding blue retainer

Right after finishing an Invisalign treatment, patients are asked to wear a retainer so their newly shifted teeth will stay in place. Of course, not everyone follows their orthodontist’s directions, and often, retainers end up in a bathroom cabinet and are forgotten. This can lead to the teeth misaligning again in the future, and many patients believe they can fix it by wearing their old retainer. Does this work? Are there potential risks? What should someone do if their old retainer doesn’t fit? We answer these questions and more in today’s blog.

Why Retainers Are Important in the First Place

At the end of an orthodontic treatment, the ligaments and tissues that hold the teeth in place are relatively loose and flexible, which is why patients are asked to wear a retainer. This ensures the teeth literally retain their new positions until the tissues settle. Not doing so can lead to the teeth moving again in the future, undoing all the great work that was accomplished by either braces or Invisalign.

Can You Use An Old Retainer To Restraighten Teeth?

If a person doesn’t wear their retainer for a few days, weeks, or even a month, then a retainer will likely still fit and be able to do its job without issue. But, if it has been a few months or even years, the retainer will likely feel too small and be uncomfortable. This is because the position of the teeth and bite have changed. Wearing a retainer that doesn’t fit correctly is not only annoying and unhelpful, but it can also potentially damage the teeth and nearby tissues because it is placing too much pressure on them.

What To Do If Your Retainer Doesn’t Fit

The best thing to do is simply call your orthodontist. They won’t lecture you, but rather work to find a solution to your problem. This might involve making you a new retainer, or if the teeth have moved enough, you may need to wear braces for a short period or get a small number of Invisalign trays. While this isn’t the ideal scenario, it’s the most dependable and safest way to move teeth that have become crooked again.

If you’re starting to notice crookedness in your teeth, and you don’t know where your retainer is off the top of your head, then it’s probably time to call your orthodontist. With their help, you can reclaim your straight smile and make sure it stays in place this time!

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified, award-winning orthodontist who serves patients of all ages in the Columbus area. He and his team have provided countless retainers over the years, and he’s more than happy to help if your teeth have moved since completing orthodontic treatment. He won’t guilt trip you for not wearing your retainer, but rather provide the friendly care you need to get your smile back on track. To learn more or schedule a FREE in-person consultation at Shirck Orthodontics, click here.