Not Wearing Retainer for a Month

Not wearing retainer for a month – is it bad, or something you can do without sweating it?

The time after your braces are removed is the most critical time when it comes to your orthodontic treatment and keeping your teeth straight. This is why wearing a retainer is a requirement to keep the new position of your teeth and help maintain your straighter and better smile.

Although wearing a retainer can be a hassle for some, you must understand that it is the best way to maintain the smile that you have spent for and worked hard for to achieve. Without your retainer, your teeth can shift back into their original place.

But despite its importance, some people still tend to forget to wear their retainers – not just for days but some would even forget them for months! This could easily undo the orthodontic work that you have.

Ever wonder what happens if you are not wearing your retainer for a month? This article will show you what will happen to your teeth and make you understand why it is very important that you wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist or cosmetic dentist.

Why are retainers important for newly straightened teeth?

To understand what happens when you do not wear your retainer, you have to first understand why retainers are important and why they are required in the first place. Retainers are required as part of your post-treatment to make sure that you do not experience orthodontic relapse.

You see, the new position of your teeth will not stay that way forever. Your teeth will gradually shift and there is still a huge possibility that they will move back to their original place as you age. And this is a natural thing – no matter what type of treatment you go for or how expensive your braces are, your teeth will still shift naturally.

You may be wondering why this natural shift happens. Your body is always in a state of change as long as you are living – your teeth are not exempted from that. This is why our body changes as we age. It is a natural process that is always bound to happen.

Natural shifting is not the only reason why you have to wear retainers. The way you bite or chew after your teeth straightening treatment may also ruin your new and better smile. This is especially true for people who are clenching or grinding their teeth often. If you chew or bite something hard, your teeth will move slightly.

Another reason why your teeth could shift is when you lose a tooth after you had braces. This is because the teeth can start moving towards the gap where you lost your tooth.

What happens when you do not wear your retainer for a month

After a month of not using your retainer, you can notice that your teeth would shift into their original place and your bite probably has changed.

At this point, it does not mean that the situation can be fixed. All you have to do is to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist and get fitted for another retainer.

And because you stopped wearing a retainer for a month, you might have to wear the new retainer all day and night. If the shifting has been significant, your dentist might ask you to redo your treatment.

What happens when you do not wear your retainer for a year

There is a huge possibility that your teeth have moved back to their original position if you stopped wearing your retainer for a year. That is a significantly long time and it is long enough for your teeth to move back into its old position.

In this case, getting a new retainer will not be able to fix the solution for you. There is a huge chance that you will have to wear braces again and redo your treatment. Just imagine how much money goes to waste just because you were unable to follow advice and instructions.

What to do if you stop wearing your retainer for a while

The first thing that you should do is to make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible. Your teeth should be checked out to determine how much shifting took place so that the orthodontist can assess whether you can get by with just a retainer replacement or if you have to start wearing braces again.

What not to do if you stop wearing your retainer for a while

Do not attempt to wear your retainer again and continue on as if nothing has happened. Chances are your retainer will not fit well anymore because your teeth have started shifting already. Forcing the retainers in will not only hurt you but can also damage your teeth.

Do not attempt to adjust the retainers yourself. If you think you can adjust the wires to fit you better, we will go ahead and tell you that you are wrong. Only your orthodontist can fit a retainer to make sure that your teeth stay in place.

Do not skip a check-up with your orthodontist. Some people would feel ashamed to face their orthodontist and go to a different dentist when they have not been wearing their retainers for a while. We suggest that you stick with the one who gave you the treatment.

Although this is foolish because you are putting their hard work and your expense at risk, there is no reason to be ashamed. Your orthodontist will be willing to help you out whether you stopped wearing your retainers because you lost them or because of neglect on your part. They will always do what is best for your teeth.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How long do I have to wear my retainers?

When your braces get removed for the first time, your orthodontist will instruct you to wear your retainer consistently day and night for 24 months for several months. This is called the retention period and it is to make sure that your jaw and gums adjust to the new position of your teeth.

Eventually, your orthodontist will tell you to wear your retainers overnight. You will wear the retainers overnight everyday and then shift to a few nights a week for the rest of your life.

If you are wondering how many months you will be wearing your retainer for 24 hours, this will vary from one person to the next. Generally, the more severe your initial dental issue is, the longer you have to wear your retainer for 24 hours. This is to make sure that orthodontic relapse won’t take place.

What is relapsing in orthodontic treatment?

When your teeth shift back to their original positions, that is called relapsing. This happens because your gum tissue is still soft and adjusting to the new place of your teeth. Without the pressure of the braces in place, your teeth can easily shift back to their original position.

This can be prevented by wearing your retainer for 24 hours for the first few months after you have your braces removed. Once your gum tissue has adjusted to the new place of your teeth, your orthodontist will allow you to wear your retainers overnight.

Although your teeth will be more stable at this point and the risk of relapsing is lower, you still have to wear your retainers for the rest of your life if you want to keep your new smile for a lifetime.

What if I forget to wear my retainer for a few days?

Not wearing your retainer for a day or two is not a big deal. That is not enough time to cause a major shift in your teeth. Although, there is a chance that you will experience slight discomfort when you wear your retainer once again but it is nothing serious.

What if my retainer does not fit anymore?

Retainers feel a bit tight to wear even if you just missed a few days of wearing them. It can be very uncomfortable and even painful if you force them on. If you did not wear your retainer for less than a week, the aching and tenderness from wearing one again will subside in a few days as long as you wear your retainer consistently again.

But if you missed wearing your retainers for more than a week and you find that you need to force the retainer over your teeth, you should stop using the old retainer. Give your orthodontist a call and tell them that you need a replacement because your retainers do not fit anymore.

You will have to go to the orthodontist’s office to have your teeth scanned or have a mold made. This is because your retainers should be a custom fit designed to hold your teeth in place.

How long does a new retainer last?

This depends on what kind of retainer you have. A permanent or fixed retainer can last for decades as long as you know how to keep it clean and you take good care of it.

A removable retainer will not last as long as bonded or permanent retainers. However, removable retainers can also last for several years as long as you take good care of them.

To prolong the lifespan of your retainer, always keep them in a proper retainer case when you are not wearing them. Do not expose them to extreme heat such as hot liquids or leave them in a hot car – this is specially for plastic retainers.

If you notice any chips or cracks in your retainer, contact your orthodontist to see if it can be repaired. If not, your orthodontist will arrange for a replacement to be made.

How often should I replace my retainer?

Although retainers can last for years, it is recommended that you replace your retainer from time to time for hygienic purposes – just like your toothbrush have to be replaced from time to time.

Experts recommend that you replace your retainer every 6 months during the retention period wherein you have to wear one 24 hours a day. After the retention period, you can replace your retainers every once a year.

Should retainers be customized?

Do not be fooled by one-size-fits-all retainers that are being sold in the market. Although they may be cheaper than what you pay for your customized retainers, there is no assurance that they can serve their purpose.

Retainers can not be adjusted like metal brackets can. Wearing a retainer that does not fit perfectly on you straight teeth can cause damage and will ruin the result of your treatment.

A retainer should be a custom-fit in order for them to work properly. After all, the main purpose of a retainer is to retain – meaning it should hold the current position of your teeth in place. 

Do I have to wear my retainer forever?

If you want to keep your straight teeth for as long as you live, then you should wear your retainers forever. Aging does not stop and your teeth will naturally shift as the years go by. There is no stopping this. The only way to make sure that you get to keep your new smile is to wear your retainers to keep your teeth in place.


No matter what kind of braces you wear or why you needed orthodontic treatment in the first place, retainers are required to let you keep the results longer. Without retainers, you put all the money, effort, time, and discipline that you went through during your treatment to waste.

After reading this article, we are sure that you now fully understand why it is important to wear your retainer for the full duration that your orthodontist has prescribed. Once you have your braces or clear aligners removed, it is important that you move on to wearing a retainer for long-term retention.

To maintain your new, straight smile for the rest of your life, you must wear your retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist for the rest of your life. The good news is that after some time, you only will have to wear them overnight as you sleep.

Just like wearing braces, it will take some adjustment to wear retainers all the time. But give it a few days and you will see that it will easily fall into your routine.

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