It’s been a while since I wore my retainer. We had a lot of illness in our family. I was taking care of my mom after she had 2 surgeries and at night, I just crashed and went to sleep. A few nights in a row I forgot my retainer and I guess that was all that was needed to break the habit. I just realized that it has probably been 2 months since I wore it. This morning I put it on and it doesn’t fit. Could it have changed shape? – Yudy
Yudy – It is unlikely that your retainer changed shape. But it is likely that your teeth are begging to shift. Without a retainer, your teeth begin to gradually move to their original position. It can take a year or more for teeth to stabilize after orthodontic treatment.
While you are wearing braces, your teeth are in tight control. When the braces are removed, the control is lost, and a retainer is required to prevent tooth movement. For at least the first year after treatment with braces, a retainer needs to be worn full time. Your dentist will advise you if you need to wear a retainer full time for a longer period.
When a retainer is not worn and teeth start to shift, it may be possible to guide them back into position with another retainer, or for a brief period, braces may be required again.
Some patients wear a retainer full time for a year and find that their teeth are still shifting. In these cases, a metal retainer may be fixed behind the teeth. Or, the retainer may need to be replaced.
At this point you should schedule an appointment with your dentist for an examination. He or she will determine whether a new retainer will realign your teeth, or if more aggressive treatment is required.
This post is sponsored by the San Jose family dentists at Hillsdale Dental Care.