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Wearing an old retainer



I got braces in middle school. In high school, I wore my retainer consistently at first, and then nightly after that. After a couple of years, I stopped wearing it altogether. I noticed recently some movement in my teeth, so I started putting in my old retainer at night, which I know is the perfect shape for my teeth. It did hurt a little at first, but not any different than when I used to tighten my braces. Is this bad for my teeth? I`m 21 now, does that make a difference? I just want to be safe.


Thank you for this great question. The fact that you can re-insert your old retainer indicates that you have had very little tooth movement. I would suggest you try to wear it full-time (except to eat) for three weeks. If you find that at the end of one week you can get it in an out with a minimal amount of effort, then go to wearing it at nights only. Then, after three months wear it every other night indefinitely. This should take care of the problem, and you will not hurt yourself or your teeth. You might want to check with your original orthodontist to see if there are any concerns. Be sure to have the retainer with you. 

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University