The full teenage experience is not complete without a mouth full of metal. And, whether you wore braces for years or only a handful of months, you most likely thought you were signing up for a straight smile for life…
Not necessarily, says New York cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, DDS. “Most people over the age of 30 who don’t wear a retainer will have crowding or crooked teeth simply because the mouth changes over the years, and in turn the teeth are affected. If you do have a retainer, your teeth should stay in place!”
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So if you haven’t worn your retainer in years—or, more likely, don’t even know where it is—is it too late to fix it? Dr. Chase gives us the scoop:
What is your advice for preventing teeth from shifting post-braces?
“I always recommend a retainer. If you are not comfortable with a permanent retainer, you can always wear a removable one a few nights a week.”
I haven’t seen my retainer since the ’90s…did I already ruin my smile?
“It’s never too late to fix your teeth! There are so many options now, including braces, and Invisalign, which is highly recommended for adults.”
I have noticed my teeth look “different.” What is your go-to treatment for fixing them?
“If you have a retainer that you have not worn in years, I suggest bringing it to your next dental appointment and seeing if it can still be used. If not, another mold can be taken of your teeth and a new retainer can be made.”
I’m not totally comfortable with wearing a retainer to the office. What are my other options?
“There are a few options to fix your smile, should you be unhappy with your teeth. You can either have traditional orthodontics (braces) or opt for Invisalign. Another option is restorative, which involves reshaping your teeth using veneers. This will make your teeth appear straight and whiter.”