I had braces in my teens. I was told to wear a retainer for a month fulltime then only at night. I had a slight relapse in my upper front teeth. I talked with a new orthodontist who said new braces could fix the problem, or I could use my old retainer to move them as close to aligned as I could and a new retainer made to hold them in place. He said 6 months of fulltime wear and then night time wear should keep my teeth aligned. I’ve since worn my newly made retainer fulltime for almost three years. I notice after a few hours whenever I remove the retainer that the one tooth in particular seems to have shifted some, therefore I’ve not yet been brave enough to not go more than a few hours without it. Am I being paranoid about the movement of my teeth? If not, then will the movement stop or become less noticeable once I get the courage to wear it only at night? I mean if my teeth move slightly throughout the day and I have to force them back every night…is that normal? That can’t be good over time right?
– Ty in Indiana
I don’t think you’re being paranoid about your tooth movement. If your teeth are starting to move within a few hours after you take your retainer out, then you need to continue to wear the retainer all the time.
If you don’t like the idea of wearing the retainer during the day, there are a couple of other options.
One is that you can get a teeth bleaching splint made. The clear bleaching trays help hold your teeth in position and aren’t as noticeable to others as a normal orthodontic retainer.
Another option is to have a permanent retainer bonded to the insides of your teeth, either upper or lower. This, however, does complicate cleaning your teeth – you have to use a floss threader to clean between them.
I don’t know why your teeth aren’t stable yet, but they aren’t. So get used to the retainer. It isn’t good for your teeth to be moved back and forth, so use the retainer to keep that from happening.
– Dr. Hall
See our page on How long should I wear my retainer?
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