Once you have your braces removed, your orthodontic journey is not over. It’s essential to continue wearing your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist/brace provider. If you do not wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist, your teeth may revert to their original position, thus losing the teeth straightening progress you made during your orthodontic treatment.
Research indicates that patients who do not wear their retainer after having braces removed are at risk of having their teeth move and shift, as your teeth have become susceptible to movement. If you stop wearing your retainer, even for just a short time, you may experience movement of your teeth. This is particularly a concern for patients with more severe orthodontic conditions such as crowding or severely displaced teeth, as the teeth could move back to their previous state.
If you try and put in your retainer after not wearing it for a week, you may notice it might feel a little tight. After a few hours of wear, it will feel less tight as your teeth will begin to move into position. You may feel a little pain or some tender gums and teeth during this process, as it is similar to the slight pain of wearing braces, however this should stop after some time.
Unfortunately, after neglecting your retainer for a long time, it’s much more likely you will not be able to fit the retainer over your teeth at all. If you decide to finally try on your retainer after a year of neglect and you can still fit it over your teeth, you are incredibly lucky! The 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 movement and shift your teeth back to their desired positions.
If you have had braces during your teenage years and you couldn’t be bothered to wear a retainer, and now you need to tighten up. Undoubtedly, your choice should be to go with clear aligners which is an affordable solution compared to braces.