Dentist Questions Braces, Oral

What happens if you don't wear your retainer?

I'm going to have my braces removed next week, but I would really like to skip wearing the retainer. What happens if I choose not to wear it?

12 Answers

Tooth position may relapse and teeth will not retain their alignment. Talk to your dentist about the importance of stabilizing post-ortho.

Your teeth will most likely shift back to their original state. The retainer helps keep the teeth in the position they are at and are heavily encouraged to wear to prevent any movement. We see a lot of patients that do not wear their retainers and would have to be fitted for braces again.

Thank you for your question.
Teeth relapse and move to original state.
Your teeth will relapse. So if you want to keep your teeth straight, do not skip the retainer.
Your teeth will most likely shift back and the results of your orthodontics will begin to unravel.
Teeth have a "memory" and often try to move back to their original positions. Retainers are required to help keep teeth in their new positions. Regular lifetime retainer wear is necessary as the body is continually undergoing growth and maturation. I recommend bedtime retainer wear after removal of braces. Minor irregularities, particularly in the lower front teeth may occur. Even with good retainer wear, teeth may move slightly which is beyond the control of the orthodontist. If retainers are lost, broken, or no longer fit you should immediately schedule an appointment to have new ones made or if possible repaired to avoid shifting of the teeth. You can also ask your orthodontist if a fixed/bonded retainer would be a good option for you. Best of luck and congrats on getting your braces off!
Wear your retainer for as long as you want your teeth straight. You should at least wear every night for 2 years then one weekend a month. Wear it more nights when you put in the retainer and your teeth are sore.
If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth will not stay straight. They will become crooked again. It’s very simple. You just spent 2 years having your teeth straightened and maybe you paid for the braces, maybe your parents did. Somebody paid thousands of dollars. Wear your retainers. Period.

Keep smiling,

David M. Kaffey, DDS
If you don't wear your retainer there is a very good chance you will have some orthodontic relapse. This means that your teeth will more than likely move part of the way back to their original positions.
You will likely end up back in braces or with crooked teeth. Probably 75% of patients have have noticeable movement within 72 hours of not wearing a retainer. The further out you are from having the braces removed, the less likely to see movement. If you don't want to bother wearing a removable retainer, ask your orthodontist about a bonded retainer.
Your teeth will start to move back to where they were. Retainer wear is important!
I would highly recommend you wear your retainers after your braces are removed. If you choose not to wear retainers there's about a 75% your teeth shift. The shifting may be gradual over months or years depending on where they started before you had braces, or it may even be as quickly as a few days to weeks. Considering the time commitment and cost you invested in straightening your teeth, it would be a shame to have all that hard work undone. Typically after about 6 months you would only have to wear your retainers while you sleep. If you decide you aren't going to wear retainers at all, then at the very least, ask your orthodontist if you would be a candidate for permanent retainers, which are wires glued to the back of your teeth. Hope that helps!