Due to numerous biological and lifestyle factors, our teeth are almost always shifting, so if you forget to wear your retainer and begin to see movement in your mouth, this is what you can do to try and get back to the perfect smile you achieved post-braces.
Once your braces come off, you’ll be fitted with a retainer to help keep your teeth in the same places as your braces left them. Your retainer is moulded to your newly straightened teeth, and especially for the first three months following treatment, it’s absolutely essential to wear your retainer a all times to maintain optimal results. Night time retainer wear is recommended for life, or as we say ‘for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight’!
Slow Shifts Still Affect Your Smile
Over time, we understand some patients may become less diligent about wearing their retainers. Sometimes, life gets in the way and your retainer becomes regarded as something that collects dust – rather than a very important tool helping you keep your perfect teeth from shifting.
Some people may experience shift after as little as a week of not wearing their braces, so if you neglect to put your retainer in for a year, you may notice a significant difference between when you first had your braces removed and a few calendar page flips later.
What Does Tooth Relapse Look Like?
Patients who misplace their retainers and don’t replace them or just don’t feel like putting them in, will likely notice a couple of things: After approximately a month or so, your bite may actually begin to revert to what it was like before your lengthy orthodontic journey. For example, an overbite may return and your teeth will likely begin to crowd forwards.
If the Shoe (retainer) Fits!
If you decide to finally wear your retainer after a year of neglect and you can still fit it over your teeth, you are incredibly lucky! Best case scenario is that you’ll be able to fit the retainer on – even if it’s a bit tight. At the very least, returning to wearing this retainer consistently may help repair this relapse and shift your teeth back to their desired positions.
Unfortunately, after neglecting your retainer for some time, it’s much more likely you will not be able to fit the retainer over your teeth at all. If this occurs, book an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible and they will create a new retainer for you that will hold your teeth in their current position. This is likely not as desirable for many patients because they will notice they’ve lost some of the straightness they were so excited about when they first had their braces removed. However, preventing further shifting is better than allowing time to wreak additional havoc on your newly straightened smile.
Take Care of Your Retainer and Your Smile
You can’t maintain the full, beautiful results you achieved with braces if you do not wear your retainer consistently. Once you realize your teeth have shifted, it will likely be too late to try and get them back to as-perfect-as-possible without actually reapplying your braces. This is not a reality any of our patients get excited about, so try your best to create a night time oral hygiene routine that includes always putting in your retainer.
No matter what causes your teeth to shift, at Foley Wilde Orthodontics we will never make you feel guilty about your journey towards your best-possible smile. If you have issues with shift, book an appointment with us and we will be happy to help you get back on track, so you can enjoy the teeth you want to see smiling back at you in the mirror.