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HomeAnswersOrthodontistorthodontic relapseCan removing retainer for one week after 9.5 years of braces removal cause teeth shifting?

Does removing an retainer after a prolonged period of orthodontic treatment cause teeth shifting?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At March 1, 2023
Reviewed AtJuly 31, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I lost my retainer and need to get a new one. This will be a week without a retainer. I got my braces removed nine and a half years ago and have worn the retainer every night. I would have missed it once in a blue moon. What are the chances of my teeth shifting even if it is a little? And what could be done to fix that?


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for your query. Retainers are considered an important part of orthodontic therapy as they hold or retain the teeth in the corrected positions after the treatment. In the meantime, the jaw bone and surrounding tissues get mature enough to hold the teeth there without any external assistance. After orthodontic treatment, it takes almost one year for the tissues to mature enough. Hence, the first year is crucial. After that, the patient can gradually reduce the wear time to alternate days to eventually stop the retainers. In your case, there is a very slight chance that teeth will shift which is almost negligible. The growth period is over and retainers have been there for more than nine years. All the tissues and bones would have been completely matured. So, I would suggest you to have your new retainers fabricated which can be worn for about a month and then you can gradually wear them down. I hope this has helped you. Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Mayank Khandelwal
Dr. Mayank Khandelwal


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