Uh oh. The retainer you thought was lost forever has finally been located in a random corner of your linen closet. It may have been months or years since you wore it last, and now, you guessed it, it doesn’t quite fit anymore.
You may remember the feeling of elation the day your braces finally came off, and your vow to wear your retainer religiously for life. Well, sometimes life gets in the way and things happen. You stopped wearing your retainer, so now what?
The Importance of a Retainer
Remember what your orthodontist said to you the day your braces came off? They most likely explained to you how important wearing your retainer was and what an important part of treatment this little device would be. The fact is, our teeth are always going to be at risk of shifting, which makes retainers crucial to your post-treatment plan.
Teeth are at the highest risk of shifting when braces have just been removed, but don’t think that since it’s been years your teeth won’t shift anymore. Not wearing your retainer can cause your teeth to move back to where they started, resulting in more orthodontic treatment in your future.
What to Do If You’ve Stopped Wearing Your Retainer
If it hasn’t been too long since you last wore your retainer, you may not need to worry too much. If your retainer fits back into your mouth with ease (maybe just a little tighter), you should be fine; however, if it won’t go back in, you’ll need to take some different steps. The key thing to remember here is not to force your retainer back into your mouth, as this can result in injury to you and damage to your retainer.
If your retainer simply doesn’t fit anymore, a visit to your orthodontist is advised. Your orthodontist will examine your smile to see if more treatment is necessary. You may not need further treatment or you may need slight treatment, either a short time in braces or treatment with one of the Invisalign products.
Your Next Steps
If your retainer no longer fits, and your teeth have indeed shifted, remember the following steps to ensure you’re handling this situation correctly:
- Don’t try to force your retainer to fit.
- Call your orthodontist and set up an appointment.
- Speak with them and decide if additional treatment is needed.
- Undergo treatment if necessary, or start wearing your retainer again after it has been adjusted by your orthodontist.
Needing additional treatment not only takes more time and money, it can be completely avoided by listening to your orthodontist’s instructions. Do yourself a favor and do your best to avoid falling into the trap of not wearing your retainer. If it’s too late for that, don’t panic…you can still fix the damage. Just make seeing your orthodontist a priority.
At Crescent Orthodontics, our team is dedicated to the outcome of your treatment. Call to get started today!