What Happens if You Don’t Wear Your Retainer?

TeamOrthodontics, Retainer

The day you hear the orthodontist tell you that your braces treatment is complete is one of the happiest moments - especially for those who have been wearing braces for a long time. Though the braces will be removed, you aren’t actually done with treatment entirely. You are simply moving into the next phase - the retention phase. This phase is a lifetime phase - at least if you want to insure you keep your new beautify smile

This new phase is all about keeping your smile as perfect as it looks the moment those braces come off. And it involves wearing a retainer. At first full time for a determined amount of time by your orthodontist.

So, what happens if you don’t wear your retainer? 

The Purpose of Your Retainer

Teeth shift. That’s how your orthodontist was able to transition your smile in the first place. Once they get to their new place, perfectly aligned, they can still change over time. In fact, they often tend to want to move back toward where they came from. To prevent your teeth from doing so, you will have to wear a retainer. 

Most retainers are not permanently attached to your teeth and can be worn or removed whenever you needed. Your orthodontist will likely tell you that your retainer should be worn every day, all day at first. Over time, however, the time you have to wear it each day may begin to dissipate. 

It is important to always follow the instructions of your orthodontist. 

The Importance of Wearing It

Wearing your retainer is critical immediately following the removal of your braces. You’ve worked hard for this straight smile - and you know you want to keep it. That means wearing your retainer. If you choose not to, here is what may happen after your braces are removed: 

1st few Weeks After Braces. By not wearing your retainer during this crucial time, there will be a lot of changes happening. It does not take long at all for teeth to begin to shift and pull apart from one another. In the dental world, this is referred to as sending your teeth into relapse. By the time you decide to put your retainer in, it may not even fit due to the changes.

One Months After Braces. Not wearing your retainer for a month after you have your braces removed can lead to changes in your bite. And your teeth are moving more toward their original position. There is a good chance that picking up your retainer at this point will do no good. You will need to get fitted for a new retainer. 

One Year After Braces. If you have gone an entire year after getting your braces removed without wearing your retainer, you may find yourself staring into the mirror with a crooked smile. Seeking an orthodontic opinion at this time may result in having to go back to braces, depending on how great your teeth have shifted. 

You have spent a lot of time in braces already, so wearing the retainer should be the easy part. If it means keeping your beautiful smile, then wear the retainer - it’ll be worth it. 

How Long Will I Have to Wear My Retainer? 

Every situation is different so it is best to speak to your orthodontist. Typically, it will be recommended that patients wear their retainer at all times for a number of months or even up to a year after braces are removed. During follow-up visits, your orthodontist will let you know when it is safe to stop wearing your retainer all the time and transition to wearing it nightly 

You will, however, be advised to wear your retainer at night for the REST OF YOUR LIFE -- assuming you want to keep that incredible smile. 

Learn More About the Importance of Wearing Your Retainer

At Demko Orthodontics, we want to help you create a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. That means we will encourage you to wear your retainer regularly so you don’t throw away all your hard work. 

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with one of our three convenient locations today! 

Chesterfield Office 314-576-4955

St Charles Office 636-946-6503

Washington Office 636-239-2272

Request an appointment online.