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Is It Possible to Straighten Teeth with an Old Retainer?

October 10, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — washingtondental @ 6:21 pm

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a person taking their blue retainer out of its protective case

Are you guilty of not wearing your retainer? Have you noticed a change in your smile since you completed your orthodontic treatment? Are your teeth beginning to shift back into their original position? If you think wearing your old retainer to re-straighten your teeth is a wise choice, a dentist explains why you should rethink this decision and instead, find out if Invisalign in Bergenfield can help you achieve a more perfectly aligned smile.

Is It Possible to Straighten Teeth with a Retainer?

The answer to this question depends on how long it has been since you finished orthodontic treatment. If you’ve only missed a few days of wearing your retainer since having your braces removed, you should be completely fine to reinsert it and let it do its job of keeping your teeth in the appropriate place. However, if months or years have passed without continuously wearing your retainer, you may find that when you try to put it back in, it no longer fits comfortably. The reason for this is often that new bone tissue has developed, resulting in an inability to properly wear your retainer and thus, re-straighten your teeth.

What to Do if a Retainer No Longer Fits

Should you discover that your old retainer no longer fits like it once did, it will be necessary for you to schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss available orthodontic solutions. Depending on how much your teeth have shifted, you may be required to wear traditional braces or clear aligners like Invisalign. Although this may not be what you want to hear, the reality is if you want a straighter, more perfectly aligned smile, you’ll need to heed the professional’s recommendation.

If you’re an adult who prefers to avoid metal brackets and wires again and wants a solution that will be discreet and give you results much quicker, it may be possible for you to receive Invisalign clear braces. Using clear, plastic trays that are custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth, you will receive a designated number of sets, each moving your teeth toward the desired position. Although more subtle than regular braces, you will be required to wear them 20-22 hours each day to avoid a delay in treatment. You’ll also be responsible for taking them out when eating, drinking, or cleaning them.

Why a Retainer is Important

Once you are finished with Invisalign or traditional braces, you will be required to wear a retainer. If you remember from the first time you completed orthodontic treatment, your retainer is designed to keep your teeth in place as new bone tissue develops. Once this is accomplished, you may be able to reduce the amount of time you spend wearing your retainer; however, the initial days, weeks, months, and even first full year is crucial if you want to avoid another round of orthodontics.

If you’re unsure whether you can use your retainer to adjust your smile, don’t hesitate to talk to your dental professional to find out what steps you should take.

About the Author
Dr. Mariliza LaCap has more than two decades of experience working in the oral healthcare field. Completing her Aesthetic Advantage Certification at New York University, she went on to receive her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Columbia University School of Dental & Oral Surgery, graduating in the top 10% of her class. At Washington Dental Associates, she and her colleagues want to ensure your smile remains in proper alignment, which is why we offer available orthodontic solutions to address overcrowding, gapped or crooked teeth, or bite alignment issues. If you are needing orthodontic treatment to realign teeth that have shifted, contact us at (201) 453-4863.

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