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 one tooth appeared to shift after a few hours of not wearing it. Am I self-conscious, or could this really be happening? Could my teeth shift that quickly? Thank you. Ian
Your description does not sound like you are self-conscious. Tooth movement can occur within hours. But it means you must continue to wear your retainer full time.
Alternatives to Wearing a Retainer Full Time
If you do not like 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 you can comfortably wear without people seeing it.
- 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 unstable, your orthodontist can. It is unhealthy 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, affecting oral health and disrupting your bite, leading to sore teeth and jaw muscles.
Sugar Land, Texas, dentist Dr. Siny Thomas of Cornerstone Dentistry sponsors this post.