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How to Fix Your Teeth After Not Wearing a Retainer

The first step is to talk to your dentist about your teeth
Read Time: 2 minutes
Apr 28, 2022

Millions of Americans get braces every year. Getting braces is almost a rite of passage for many. This means that millions of Americans also know the pain of having to keep track of a retainer after getting their braces removed and having to remember to wear it every night. After a while, it’s easy to start forgetting about it. In fact, many do. But what happens to your teeth after you haven’t worn a retainer for a while?

In some cases, your teeth can move back to how they were before you had braces. If this has happened to you, keep reading to find out what you should do to fix your teeth.

Don’t Try to Wear Your Old Retainer

It might seem like a good idea to try to start wearing your old retainer again after not wearing it for a long time. However, this may actually damage your teeth. This is because your retainer was made for where your teeth were when you got your braces off. If your teeth have since moved, then it’s not going to fit right. A retainer is meant to keep your teeth in place, not move them. Plus, trying to force a retainer that doesn’t fit could end up getting stuck in your mouth or damaging your teeth.

Make a Dentist Appointment

Many American adults had braces as children or teenagers. By the time they stopped wearing their retainers and noticed a change in their teeth, it may have been years since they were last at the orthodontist. In many cases, they’ve moved away or don’t even know who the orthodontist was because they were children and on their parents’ insurance at the time.

If you know that your teeth have shifted, make an appointment to visit your dentist and let them know what’s going on. Some dentists may be able to offer some orthodontic services and if they can’t, they can refer you to an orthodontist.

Determine How Much Your Teeth Have Shifted

Dentist showing patient a retainer

The next step is to have a consultation appointment regarding your teeth with either your dentist or an orthodontist, depending on your dentist’s recommendation. If the shift isn’t too much, then you may just need a new retainer. If they’ve shifted significantly, then you may need braces again.

Treat Your Teeth

If the shift is profound enough, you may need braces. If the shift in your teeth is small, then a new retainer may be sufficient to treat your teeth. If you get a new retainer, it’s important to wear it so that the money you spent on your teeth isn’t wasted.

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