Why You Shouldn’t Stop Wearing Your Retainer

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.

How Cavities Can Impact Children’s Teeth

Whether your child is 1 or 11, their dental health is important.

Your child’s baby teeth begin erupting (or coming in) around three months after birth and will continue growing in through age 5 or 6. From age 6 through 12, their baby teeth will fall out as their permanent come in and replace them.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t see the purpose or value of their child’s baby teeth. The myth that you don’t have to care about the health of your child’s baby teeth is prevalent. It is an easy myth to believe in as the baby teeth fall out on their own eventually and are replaced.

Tooth decay (cavities) are the most prevalent, preventable childhood disease as noted by Center for Disease Control 1 out of 5 children, ages 6-11 will have at least one cavity on their baby teeth.

Why are cavities on teeth a big deal?

First, consider the purpose and importance of baby teeth: Baby teeth allow your young child to eat and speak. They also are space holders that ensure the proper alignment of their future, permanent adult teeth.

Baby teeth are important for your young child’s proper growth and development.

Damage done to teeth via tooth decay have immediate and long-term consequences that can negatively affect your child’s health and well-being.

How Cavities Ruin Your Child’s Smile

Baby teeth are just like regular, adult teeth, only smaller. Without proper care, they are vulnerable to decay caused by the accumulation of plaque from sugars and carbohydrates in foods and drinks. If the teeth aren’t treated, the plaque can breakdown the protective enamel of teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay and infection. Tooth decay can make the teeth sensitive, brittle and unstable. Advanced tooth decay can result in premature tooth loss and the infection of nearby teeth and gum tissue. This can cause pain and inflammation. The decay of a baby tooth can also spread down into the permanent tooth coming up underneath it, which can set your child up for increased dental health risks.

Short-Term Impacts

The pain, sensitivity and inflammation may make your child uncomfortable in the short-term. On top of the pain, the inability to eat or speak properly when teeth are prematurely lost can frustrate and scare your child. When your child develops cavities on their teeth and nothing is done to treat them, your child’s short-term quality of life can be reduced.

Long-Term Impacts

In the long term, the tooth decay of baby teeth can lead to the premature loss of teeth. The early losing of teeth increases the risk that your child’s permanent, adult teeth will grow in crooked and out of alignment. Crooked, crowded or spaced-out teeth and a misaligned bite will most likely require years of orthodontic treatment, which can be a financial burden on you and an emotional or psychological burden on your child.

Permanent teeth that don’t grow in correctly can also lead to the necessity of future restorative or cosmetic dental work.

Crooked, crowded or spaced-out teeth can also affect your child’s chewing abilities, speaking abilities and will increase their risk of future tooth decay and gum disease.

When your child’s teeth are decayed, they provide a bad foundation on which their adult, permanent teeth grow into. If the tooth decay of the teeth is severe, your child’s permanent teeth will grow in already decayed. This, in turn, will require immediate dental attention.

The more severe the cavities are on your child’s teeth the more dental attention will be required. The constant, and possibly more invasive necessary dental procedures can scare young children and give them a traumatic dental experience they can harbor through adulthood. Tooth decay in can lead to pain, tooth abscess, swelling gums and cause disease in the adult, permanent teeth coming in.

It is important that you take care of your child’s teeth, even if they are baby teeth. Teeth serve an important function in ensuring that your child’s permanent, adult teeth have a healthy foundation.

Protecting and strengthening your child’s teeth is critically important, especially while they are young. It is recommended that parents bring their children in for their first dental visit by the age of one. A dental professional is your best resource on how to provide the best dental care for your child.