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What Happens if You Forget to Wear Your Retainer?

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young boy with retainers in Powell

Every treatment we provide here at Shirck Orthodontics is designed to create a beautifully straight smile that lasts for life. Whether someone is using braces or Invisalign, however, an essential part of the process is wearing retainers in Powell afterward. Not doing so can actually allow the teeth to start drifting back to where they started, undoing all the great work a patient has done! It’s normal for someone to forget to wear their retainer every once in a while, but what happens if they don’t wear it for a week, a month, or even a few years? Read on to find out.

What Happens When You Don’t Wear Your Retainer

The consequences of a patient not wearing their retainer(s) tend to compound over time:

  • A Week: Minor relapses (teeth shifting) may occur, and small spaces and slight rotations might reappear.
  • A Month: Any corrections to the alignment of the bite begin to reverse, meaning an overbite, underbite, or crossbite will start to come back.
  • A Year or More: Naturally, the teeth tend to crowd and collapse toward the tongue as we age, and this process can be accelerated and complicated if a patient doesn’t wear their retainer.

Ultimately, a patient may need to undergo orthodontic treatment later in lifebecause their teeth have become crooked again.

Tips For Wearing a Retainer After Not Using It

If you haven’t worn your retainer for a long time, the best thing you can do is start using it as soon as possible! This will prevent your teeth from relapsing further. Ideally, your retainer should still fit even though your teeth have likely moved. If you find that your retainer doesn’t fit, or if you’ve lost it, then your next call should be to your orthodontist in Powell. They can provide you with a new one and make any adjustments that are necessary. You shouldn’t try to modify your retainer if it doesn’t fit anymore, because without the right instruments and training, you could easily damage it.

How to Keep Up with Your Retainer

Do you frequently forget to wear your retainer? This happens to a lot of patients! You can help yourself remember by:

  • Set an alert on your phone: Have it go off in the morning when you wake up as well as after your normal mealtimes.
  • Choose an accountabilibuddy: Ask a friend to text you from time to time about your retainer. Be sure to offer them a little reward for their help!
  • Place a note on your mirror: One of the first things you do every morning is look in the mirror, right? Do your future-self a favor by writing a short reminder, “Hey gorgeous, don’t forget your retainer!”

When it comes to straightening the teeth, the importance of retainers can’t be understated, as they are crucial to helping a patient’s new smile last for decades to come. If you haven’t worn yours for a while, start tonight, and if it’s lost, be sure to contact your orthodontist, and they’ll be more than happy to help!  

About the Author

Nothing makes Dr. Jeffrey Shirck happier than giving a patient a perfectly straight smile he knows they’ll enjoy for decades to come. At Shirck Orthodontics, he and our team provide all types of retainers that are custom-fitted for every patient, including removable, permanent, and even invisible appliances. To learn more about responsible retainer use, or if you need a replacement, give our Powell office a call today.