I wore braces for almost three years as a teenager and have worn a retainer every night since then. Now, I am 37 years old. I recently saw an orthodontist because my upper front teeth were shifting. The orthodontist gave me the option of wearing braces again or a retainer full time for six months, then every night. I wore the retainer as he said, but it seems that after a few hours of not wearing it, one tooth appears to shift. After two years, I have not worn the retainer at nighttime only. Am I self-conscious, or could this really be happening? Could my teeth shift that quickly? Thank you. Chiharu W. from GA
Thank you for your question.
Your description does not sound like you are self-conscious. Tooth movement can occur within hours. But it means that you need to continue to wear your retainer full time.
Options for Wearing a Retainer Full Time
If you do not like the thought of wearing a retainer full time, speak with your orthodontist about your options.
- Get a custom-made, clear retainer that is not as noticeable. Invisalign is one brand of clear braces that you can comfortably wear without people seeing.
- Get a fixed retainer. Your orthodontist can provide a custom wire retainer and bond it to the back of your teeth. Fixed retainers can be challenging to clean around, but your dentist, orthodontist, or dental hygienist can show you how to keep the backs of your teeth clean.
Although we cannot tell you why your teeth are not stable, your orthodontist can. It is not healthy for your teeth to shift back and forth, so wear a retainer to prevent tooth movement. The American Association of Orthodontists confirms that a retainer is required to maintain the healthy new position of your teeth. Without a retainer, your teeth can move again and affect your oral health.
Dr. Rekha Reddy, a Dallas dentist, sponsors this post