I haven't wore my retainers for two days. I put them in and my teeth hurt. Are they just going back?

Doctor Answers 4

Teeth shifting after failing to wear retainers #DrSoftTouch

Hello there,
Teeth have a tendency to shift or move back to their original position. This is why wearing your retainers as directed is so important. Wearing your retainers is the only guarantee to keep your teeth from relapsing. After a few days of wearing your retainers again the teeth should reposition back to where they were when orthodontic treatment was completed and you'll no longer have discomfort.  Good luck and I hope this helps. Follow me if you have more questions.

Sarah Thompson, DMD
St. Louis, MO area (O'Fallon, IL)
Real Self 100

Teeth may be moving!

Without retainer use everyday there is a possibility that your teeth may be moving. Its important that you wear your retainers everyday to prevent any movements. With extended wear of the retainers during the day for the next 7-10 days your teeth should become more stable and less uncomfortable with the retainers in place. Please make sure to wear your retainers every night to prevent any movement.All the best,

Navid Zamani, DMD
Los Angeles Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Retainers Hurt Teeth After Failing to Wear

Actually, the teeth started to move or relapse since you were not wearing your retainers. No harm done in just two days; the teeth should move back to their orthodontic finished position, and the pain should subside. Teeth will try to relapse years after treatment. Depending on your treatment, your dentist may recommend fixed retainers that you do not remove. Ask your dentist about this if you think compliance may be a problem for you. Good Luck!

It is not unusal for teeth to feel tight after not wearing the retainers for a extended period

Every situation is case dependent. Generally speaking, when braces are removed, teeth have a natural biological tendency to relapse and move slightly. When this happens, a patient may feel that the retainers fit unusually tight. This usually happens when a patient forgets to wear the retainers for a few days. Often, the feeling of tightness dissipates after a day of wearing the retainers because the teeth have been slowly repositioned back to where they were when the braces were removed. Many orthodontists will recommend if this happens, wear the retainers longer than prescribed to allow time for teeth to return to their original position (for example, if a patient normally wear the retainers at night only and he/she forgets to wear them for 3 days while on a trip, when he/she does wear them, he/she should wear them for an entire day to allow the teeth to be recaptured in their original position. He/she will likely find that the retainers won't feel tight anymore after that). Another potential reason for tightness is a distortion of the retainers. If retainers are distorted accidentally and are forced on the teeth, discomfort may occur. If this is a concern, a patient should schedule an appointment with the treating orthodontist to have the retainers examined.

Chia-Hung Lin, DDS
New York 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.