Your days with braces are over! You’ve put in the time, money and effort and now you have perfectly straight teeth. You may have been adamant about listening to your orthodontist’s instructions right after you got your braces removed because you knew how hard you worked for those straight teeth. But now, maybe years later, you may not even know where to your retainer is, let alone wear it regularly. But then one day, you find it hidden in a drawer under the bathroom sink and decide to pop it in, only to find it doesn’t fit…at all. Now what?

We’re here to lead you in the right direction when you’re yelling, “Help! I didn’t wear my retainer and now my teeth have shifted!”

Consult an Orthodontist

The first thing you want to do is consult an orthodontist about your issue. It’s important to get a professional involved, so they can accurately diagnose the shifting and come up with a plan to fix it. They will examine your teeth to figure out how badly they have shifted and most likely recommend one of the following treatments:

  • A new retainer to keep the teeth where they are currently
  • An active retainer for minor single tooth movement.
  • Additional treatment with braces or Invisalign

If your shifting is too significant for a retainer to correct, your orthodontist may suggest a short duration of treatment with braces or Invisalign.

What to Avoid

You may feel a bit lost in discovering that your teeth have shifted, and maybe a bit disappointed in your lack of retainer wear. Don’t worry, you’re not the first person this has happened to, but you don’t want to make the situation worse.

Don’t try to make the retainer fit back into your mouth. Your teeth have shifted, and if your retainer isn’t fitting in easily, chances are, it’s not going to fit right with force. Also, don’t try to bend the retainer to accommodate for the shifting of your teeth. This can cause even more damage. And don’t ignore the signs of shifting teeth either, especially if the shifting is significant. If your teeth are moving back to their original positions, it can bring back some of the issues you fixed with your orthodontic treatment in the first place.

Other Treatment Options

A permanent retainer is a good choice for those who have had trouble wearing their retainer properly in the past, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of those people. With permanent retainers, there’s no need to worry about wearing your retainer for the recommended amount of time since it is permanently fixed in your mouth. This treatment option offers better long-term success, as it’s inevitable that as we get older, our teeth shift. If you’re unsure about this option, you may want to consider a permanent/removable retainer combo. Most orthodontists opt for a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent retainer for the bottom teeth, since bottom teeth tend to shift more due to their smaller size.

Fixing the Problem

The important thing to remember is with a little help and effort, your shifting problem can be fixed. Be sure to consult an orthodontist to discover your treatment options and remember the importance of maintaining your smile for the rest of your life. You only get one smile, so be sure to take care of it!

Get in touch with the team at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists! We’re ready to help you on your journey to a perfect smile. Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started!