Congratulations on completing your orthodontic treatment! The months or years of wearing annoying, uncomfortable and embarrassing braces are over. You no longer have to go into the orthodontist every month for an adjustment of the brackets on your braces.
Before you think you’re done with ever stepping into the orthodontist office again, there is the reality that you’re likely going to need to wear a retainer.
Some patients have minor orthodontic needs so they can get by with wearing their retainers at night. Others may have to wear them day and night.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, wearing retainers can easily take away the enthusiasm you had when you had your braces taken off for the last time.
Now months have gone by and you’ve been wearing your retainers daily.
Until you accidentally misplaced them.
It can be easy to “lose” you retainers. Whether you wear them at night or during the day, retainers can be a nuisance to wear and care for and they aren’t exactly pleasant to look at.
Retainers and the dedicated wearing of them is made more difficult when the patient doesn’t realize and appreciate the purpose of the retainers in maintaining that perfect, straight smile that was achieved during braces treatment.
Why are retainers necessary? What will happen if you stop wearing them?
The Consequences of Not Wearing a Retainer
1. Your Teeth Will Regress
You walked through the door of the orthodontist office with crooked teeth and a smile you were too embarrassed to show off. Braces were the only option in straightening them. After all that time wearing braces, your teeth moved into their proper positions and you got the straight, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.
To keep that straight smile and make all that time in braces worth it, retainers need to be worn daily.
If you don’t wear your retainers, your teeth can shift back into their original, improper and crooked positions and you’ll have to spend the money and do the time wearing braces all over again.
Your newly straightened teeth are especially susceptible to movement within the first year after getting your braces removed.
The ligaments and nerves of the teeth and the structure of the jawbone have yet to be solidified, making it easy for the teeth to shift and grow in any number of positions.
If you want to keep your dream smile, it is important you routinely and continuously wear your retainers.
2. You’ll Throw More Money and Unnecessary Time Away
You may wonder what the big deal is if you don’t wear your retainers. After all, you don’t notice any dramatic, immediate changes in your teeth positioning. While a couple missed days or nights here and there likely won’t cause long-term teeth alignment relapse, constant “forgetting” to wear your retainers or going long periods of time not wearing your retainers because you lost them, can have permanent, expensive and time consuming consequences.
Time and money are things many people complain they don’t have enough of. That may, however, be true for you. If you lose your retainer or simply don’t wear it you’ll be giving up more of both.
Typical orthodontic treatment cost thousands of dollars and potentially years of monthly orthodontist visits.
You don’t want to do that all over again, do you?
Not wearing your retainers for a long time can very likely lead to that result.
3. Shows a Lack of Responsibility and Dedication to Your Dental Health
While irresponsibility and lack of dedication towards one’s dental health are often associated with teenagers, these can apply to some adult patients as well.
As a parent, there are few things that are more frustrating than to spend thousands of dollars on orthodontic treatment only to potentially must do it again or to spend an additional few hundred dollars on a replacement retainer.
Adult patients can just as easily be irresponsible when it comes to the proper wearing of their retainers. Teens and adults can wane in their dedication to their dental health.
Sharing that you must wearing a retainer or know that your parents know you’re wearing a retainer and then not wearing it can easily cause others to doubt the seriousness of your commitment to maintaining your straight smile.
It is important to wear your retainers. Retainers keep your teeth straight and they can save you from wasting unnecessary expenses and time.
If you lose your retainer, it is important to contact your orthodontist right away to get a replacement.