It may have become damaged, lost in a move, or you may have simply decided you no longer wanted to wear it. No matter what situation you’re in, not wearing your retainer can be a big mistake. You’ve put time, money and effort into your orthodontic treatment and now that it’s over, you can’t assume the work is done. In fact, it’s just begun. Maintaining your smile for years is an important job, and it’s up to you and only you to ensure this job is done properly. So, maybe the damage has already been done. Now what?
Why Wearing Your Retainer is Important
First off, why are these little pieces of acrylic so important? A retainer is a critical part of your orthodontic treatment plan because our teeth are always shifting, and if you’re not wearing your retainer properly, you run the risk of your teeth shifting back to their original positions. This can result in discomfort and the unwanted possibility of having to undergo more orthodontic treatment. It is especially important the first year following treatment as your teeth have the greatest risk of shifting; however, don’t think that after the first year, your work is done.
All of the hard work you put into with braces or Invisalign can be erased if you don’t wear your retainer. Perhaps you knew this and perhaps you didn’t. All that matters now is what happens next.
I Didn’t Wear My Retainer. Now What?
If you’ve stopped wearing your retainer, the first thing you’ll need to do is schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. They will evaluate you and decide the following:
- How much shifting has occurred?
- Have the teeth moved back to their original positions?
- Is further treatment needed?
Depending on the amount of shifting, your orthodontist will provide your next steps, so that you can correct any issues and get back on track.
Additional Treatment Options
If additional treatment is needed, you’ll need to explore your options. You may find that Invisalign Express is the fix for you, as this treatment option tends to be for milder cases with a shorter duration of treatment. You may even choose to undergo another round of braces. Depending on how much your teeth have shifted, your treatment time may be significantly shorter than your initial treatment experience.
As you can see, failing to wear your retainer properly can have some pretty hefty consequences. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to get in touch with your orthodontist so they can come up with a plan of action for you, and remember, once you’ve fixed this issues, be sure to wear your retainer! After all, now you know how important this piece is to your treatment plan.