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Braces

Another "old retainers" question

11/28/2007

Question:

I wore braces for 2 years about 5 years ago. I wore my retainers nightly for another two years. These retainers are Invisalign-style, all clear plastic, not with wires and such. Anyway, I stopped wearing them consistently maybe 9 months ago, and I`ve only recently noticed that my teeth have shifted significantly, especially my bottom teeth, which are crowding and pushing-back the two frontmost incisors.

My old retainers won`t fit completely, but I can get them on to the point that they stay put. Obviously, there is a lot of pressure, similar to what I would feel when I would go a few days without wearing my retainers in the past. I guess I have shifty teeth.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I really don`t want (to get my parents to pay for) more orthodontic work. I don`t mind pain, even serious pain (really, I need some punishment for not continuing to wear my retainers), and I don`t mind wearing my retainers consistently. What I`m really wondering is this: will my teeth break? I`m not jamming the retainers onto them, but if I keep trying each day, will they eventually be able to fit on my teeth?

My choice is either this or having slightly crowded bottom teeth for the rest of my life. What should I do?

Answer:

It is possible that wearing the retainers will move the teeth back to their straight position. The inventor of Invisalign did this with his retainers, and that is how he got the idea for his company. It is highly unlikely that your teeth will break. However, you might want to see you orthodontist and let him/her know what you want to do. Your teeth will become loose when they are moving, so be aware of this fact.

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Response by:

Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD
Professor of Orthodontics
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University