Straightening your teeth with appliances like braces or Invisalign is just the first part of the process when it comes to achieving and maintaining the perfect smile. Your orthodontist will then prescribe a retainer or a set of retainers for you to wear. You will be wearing the retainers over your teeth full-time for at least the first six months typically. At some point after that, you will be able to transition to only wearing the retainer at night. Since retainers are removable, it’s very easy for some people to lose them. When that happens, you need to take quick action and call your orthodontist.
Why Do You Need a Retainer?
A retainer is going to be a part of your life for many, many years after your braces come off. It does a lot of work when it comes to maintaining straight teeth. Your teeth will naturally want to try to shift back towards their original position if you stop wearing your retainer. The teeth won’t shift back to their exact original position, but they will move if you stop wearing your retainer at night. They can start to overlap or appear crooked once again. When you think of all the hard work you put into wearing braces, it would be a shame to let your teeth become misaligned again.
What Happens If You Stop Wearing It?
When your braces first come off, the gums and teeth are going to be more able to change. Wearing your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist is the only way to keep your teeth straight. We can’t stress this enough: Without your retainer, your teeth are going to shift back into worse positions.
Even after just a couple of weeks of not wearing a retainer, the teeth can start to shift out of position. However, if you find your retainer after this amount of time, it will likely still fit and can start to move the teeth back. If you go a full month without wearing your retainer, you may be able to visibly see how your teeth are shifting out of place. And if a person fails to wear a retainer for a full year, they are likely to need orthodontic treatment again because their teeth will have shifted so far. These are just estimates of changes, not everyone’s teeth shift at the same speed. Not wearing a retainer long-term can result in crooked teeth and associated problems like gum disease and bone loss can occur in some instances.
What To Do If You Lose It?
The first thing you should do if you lose your retainer is call the orthodontist’s office in Melbourne and schedule an appointment. Dr. Reddick will examine your teeth to see if they have shifted at all, and a new retainer will be ordered for you as quickly as possible. It’s important that you don’t go too long without wearing your retainer, especially if it’s within the first year of having your braces off.
If you find your old retainer after a few weeks, it might not fit in your mouth properly. And as mentioned above, if the teeth have shifted too much, you may need another round of treatment with braces or Invisalign to straighten the teeth again.
Many people can actually feel their teeth shifting if they go without wearing a retainer for several weeks. A person’s bite can also become misaligned due to the teeth shifting, which can result in difficulty chewing food. The bottom line is that your retainer is incredibly important if you want to keep your teeth straight.
Get Into a Routine
To avoid losing your retainer, it’s a good idea to get into a set routine. When you take the retainer out every morning, place it in its case and put the case in the same spot on your bathroom sink or nightstand. If you make this a habit, you will be much less likely to lose your retainer.
Contact Us Immediately if You Lose Your Retainer
Losing a retainer isn’t the end of the world, but you do not have a lot of time to get a replacement before your teeth start shifting. Contact Reddick Orthodontics in Melbourne immediately for an appointment if you lose your retainer, so a new one can be made for you.