If i start wearing my retainer again will my teeth move back?

If you try fitting in your retainers after not wearing them for several months, you will likely find that they don’t fit because your teeth have moved. On the other hand, if you can successfully wear the retainer, it will shift your teeth back to where they were when you first used it – after removal of braces or aligners. Generally, if you go back to your orthodontist after about six months of not wearing the aligner because it no longer fits, the orthodontist may force the retainer in place and instruct you to clench your teeth to keep it from popping off. If this works, you should be able to prevent your teeth from moving further, and even move them back to their original position after treatment.

Make sure to keep wearing it even though it will be extremely uncomfortable and painful in the teeth. It’s recommended to wear retainers for 22 hours per day. Just take it out to eat and to clean your teeth. Just keep wearing it even though your teeth will hurt and it will hurt more to take it out and put it back in. Although it might not achieve complete alignment, it ought to bring the teeth close to their original position when starting to wear them. After four to six weeks of wearing it full time, reduce it to only nights… EVERY night.

Effects of not wearing retainer after braces

Retainers are generally designed to hold teeth in place rather than actively move them. Our teeth almost always move due to a variety of biological and lifestyle factors, so if you neglect to wear your retainer after removing braces, you will soon start to notice movement of your teeth. You will be given a retainer to wear after your braces are removed in order to keep your teeth in the same positions. It is common for some patients to stop wearing their retainers over time. Life can often get in the way, and your retainer starts to look more like something that gathers dust than a vital appliance for preventing your straight teeth from shifting.

Following the removal of their braces, individuals who choose not to wear their retainer run the danger of having their teeth shift and move. Your teeth may begin to move if you stop wearing your retainer, even for a brief period of time. As the teeth could potentially shift back to their original positions, this is especially concerning for individuals with more severe orthodontic issues including crowding or severely misaligned teeth. After getting your braces taken off, your orthodontic journey will continue. Wearing your retainer as directed by your orthodontist is imperative. If you do not wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist, your teeth could shift back to their pre-treatment alignment and you would lose the work you made in straightening your teeth.

Patients who lose their retainers and either forget to replace them or don’t feel like putting them in will probably experience the following over time:

After a week

Once your braces are taken off, your teeth will start to shift back into their original positions. Each person’s teeth move at a different rate, and even a small movement can affect how well your retainer fits. In the first week, it’s extremely important to wear your retainer at night to avoid any relapses.

After a month

You could notice that your bite has changed and your teeth have begun to shift back into their normal positions after a month of not using your retainer. For instance, your teeth may start to crowd forward and your overbite may resurface. To get fitted for a new retainer at this point, you must make an appointment with your dentist. You might need to wear your new retainer again throughout the day and night to regain the lost benefits for the first few weeks.

After one year

Your teeth will have continued to shift back to their natural positions and may even be crooked after a year without using a retainer. Resuming treatment by wearing braces may be only way to correct the problem. You can stop this from happening by wearing your retainer as directed. Wearing your retainer after getting rid of your braces can help keep your teeth straight. You will lose the smile you worked so hard to get if you don’t wear your retainer. Even though it could take some time for you to develop the habit of wearing a retainer, it will be worthwhile in the end.

Going back to wearing a retainer after stopping

If you decide to start wearing your retainer again and it still fits over your teeth, you are quite fortunate! Even if the retainer is a little snug, the best case scenario is that you can put it on. At the very least, going back to using your retainer regularly might help fix this relapse and move your teeth back to where you want them to be.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you will be able to wear your retainer at all after ignoring it for a year or longer. If this happens, schedule a visit with your orthodontist right away, and they’ll make you a new retainer that will keep your teeth where they are. Although this means that you will have lost some of the straightness that you were so thrilled about when you originally had your braces removed, this option is not liked by many patients. But preventing further shifting is preferable to giving time the chance to further damage your recently straightened grin.

Your retainer could feel a little snug if you try to insert it after not wearing it for a while. It will feel looser after a few hours to days of use as your teeth start to adjust in place. As with wearing braces, you can experience some little discomfort or sensitive gums and teeth throughout this process, but this should pass eventually.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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