What Happens if You Don’t Wear Your Retainer After Braces?

If you’re an orthodontic patient, your orthodontist probably reminds you how important wearing your retainer is at every appointment. But what really happens if you don’t wear your retainer after getting braces? Will your treatment have gone to waste, or is it less necessary than your doctor makes it seem?

Young woman replaces her clear retainer following braces

Do I Need to Wear My Retainer After Braces?

Ultimately, the impact of not using your retainer depends on when and how frequently you forget or choose not to wear it. The first week or two after your braces come off is the most important time to remember to wear your retainer diligently. If you don’t wear your retainer during this initial period, your teeth may quickly shift back towards their original positions, undoing much of the work that you spent time and money on.

While the first week after the braces are removed is undoubtedly the most important time to use your retainer, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to stop wearing it immediately once that time has passed. Foregoing a retainer in the months after orthodontic treatment can ultimately lead to your teeth moving back to their original positions. Of course, forgetting to wear your retainer once every few months will not cause any drastic changes. Failing to wear a retainer for weeks at a time, however, may lead to noticeable changes in bite and tooth alignment as your teeth will move back to their original positions. 

What Happens if You Don’t Wear Your Retainer for a Long Time?

If you go without your retainer for a prolonged period, you may need to revisit your orthodontist for an evaluation. The new position of your teeth may require a new retainer. If you do not wear your retainer for a very long time—a year or more—you may need braces again. 

In order to avoid the cost and inconvenience of another round of braces, it is essential to wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist. You should receive detailed instructions for retainer use when your braces are removed, and your orthodontist should be happy to answer any questions you have about the best retainer habits. Tisseront Orthodontics is happy to help you understand the benefits of your retainer. Give us a call today!

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