Discontinued Using Retainer

I had an orthodontic treatement 3 yrs back.i used the retainer for a period of just few months and discontinued it.Now i feel there is a change in the position of my teeth from the time of treatment.If i again start wearing retainer will it help me?

Doctor Answers 7

Moving Crooked Teeth With an Orthodontic Retainer

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Orthodontic retainers are best suited to do exactly what their name implies... retain (or hold). While there are some simple tooth movements that can be accomplished with retainers, the changes that would occur after three years would probably be more extensive than could be reversed with removable retainers alone. Your best bet would be to return to your orthodontist with your original retainer and have him (or her) evaluate the retainer and your teeth to see what options exist for your current situation.

Albuquerque Orthodontist

Retainers are very important

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I had a patient who I treated with Invisalign.  When she finished her treatment she didn't wear retainers at all and within 6 months her tooth position had relapsed almost to the point at which she started.  She had to redo her treatment before she could wear retainers again.

I'm not saying that will be your situation, but if it has been almost 3 years since you wore your retainer, you will most likely have to see your orthodontist and redo the treatment.  Try the retainer in.  Does it still go in?  If so, maybe your teeth have shifted only a little bit and you will be OK, but I would still recommend that you see your orthodontist before you try to treat this yourself and force your teeth to fit the retainer.

Remember, current thinking is," RETAINERS FOR LIFE ".

Martin Frankel, DDS
Toronto Dentist

Discontinued retainer wear

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Even people who NEVER needed braces and where blessed with straight teeth can find their teeth moving as they get older.  For this reason we never tell patients that they can discontinue retainer wear!

If your retainer still fits (but is tight) just wear it full time till it settles in and you should be fine..then wear it at night.  If too much movement has occured you will need a new retainer and possibly some re-treatment

Robert Waxler, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

Retainers should be worn every night.

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We used to say to our patients after we were done actively moving teeth with braces or Invisalign that it is ok to stop wearing retainers after 3-6 month.

Research shows that teeth do shift. We say now that ideally retainers should be worn  EVERY night for the rest of you life. It sounds like excessive, but in a long run you will be much happier.

In theory, if you start wearing retainers again, teeth should go back.

Retainer MAY put teeth back into their original position

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You should try to wear the retainer ... you might just be lucky enough that the teeth have not moved very much and perhaps the retainer can correct them.  In this case wear it 24 hours per day for several months then just at night forever.  However, since you've noticed the teeth moving chances are they've moved too far for the retainer to correct.  In this case take the retainer back to your orthodontist and ask about your options: either a new retainer or some means of correcting the tooth movement you've noticed.

Brian Povolny, DDS, PhD
Seattle Orthodontist

Truth about retainers

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SHORT answer: Retainers are needed and should be worn for a lifetime. The first thing I would do it put in that retainer. If it fits with out killing you wear it 24/7. If it kills, don't throw it away. Make an appt with your Ortho.

LONG answer: Even those born with perfect teeth, who have not gone through treatment should have retainers.

You know the saying, " there is one thing you can count on in life and that is change." That is true of teeth too. If you really think about it, why would our teeth stay where they are today. We use them daily. We have the pressure of various textures of food, we swallow and talk all day, which exerting pressure on our teeth. Our tongue and lips are very strong active muscles that are very capable of moving a tooth even over night.

If you had orthodontic treatment, there are elastic fibers that surround every tooth that have some memory and until your teeth are held long enough in their new position they will tend to want to move back, so retainers become very critical in maintaining all the hard work, time and money that have gone in to your smile.

I tell my patients, think of your retainer as your insurance policy that ensures you will keep your teeth s good as they look and feel the day your retainers were made.

PS: I am doing the same thing to my own teeth right now. ;0)

Jacqueline Demko, DDS, MSD
Chesterfield Orthodontist

Discontinued retainer

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               The most important thing to do is to see the Orthodontist that treated you because they have your initial records and can determine how much your teeth have relapsed. They may be able to make you new retainers  or you may need braces or Invisalign to correct your relapse. You must wear the retainers as instructed by your Orthodontist or the teeth will continue to worsen. Good luck.

Bernard Gorkowitz, DDS
Livingston Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.