If you are planning to move to college this fall, you may be feeling excited, nervous, and eager to begin the semester. However, before school starts, you still need to pack! It can be daunting to start buying everything you need on your college packing checklist—and more importantly, deciding which items to leave behind. However, if you find yourself debating whether you should bring your old retainer to school, our orthodontists urge you to take care of your smile. For healthy, aligned teeth, you will certainly need to bring your retainer with you!
In fact, whether you’re at home, at college, or a recent graduate, we recommend wearing your retainer forever.
Why should you wear your retainer?
Fibers and ligaments keep your teeth anchored in place. But, during orthodontic treatment, braces loosen these fibrous linkages as your teeth are pushed into their aligned position. After your treatment is complete, however, teeth can rapidly shift back, moving into their original position. By wearing a retainer nightly, you can prevent teeth from shifting and keep your smile properly aligned.
If you skip wearing your retainer nightly, your months or years of orthodontic treatment can be undone. Protect your investment and your health—wear your retainer!
How quickly can teeth shift without a retainer?
It only takes a matter of days for teeth to shift. You won’t be able to maintain your smile by only wearing your retainer when you visit home during the holidays.
Luckily, it’s not a problem if you accidentally miss a day or two during the back-to-school rush—just don’t make that a habit. Your teeth will likely move back into their proper position if you haven’t skipped wearing your retainer for more than a week.
But if your retainer no longer fits, make an appointment to visit Dr. Petty or Dr. Bielik as soon as possible! Waiting for your teeth to shift even further is the worst thing you can do for your smile. And, if you haven’t been wearing your retainer, be sure to make an appointment to come in before you head off to school this fall.
As you pack for college in the upcoming weeks, be sure to include your retainer—and all the necessary supplies to keep your retainer clean! It may seem “dorky,” but there’s nothing cooler than a straight smile!