If Your Teeth Shift Can Your Retainer Fix It?

You are here looking for the no BS answer to the question: If Your Teeth Shift Can Your Retainer Fix It?

There is no doubt braces are a perfect solution for individuals with misaligned or crowded teeth. Still, teeth can shift slightly after wearing braces. It might get worse if you don’t wear a retainer immediately after your orthodontic appliance.

In most cases, teeth begin to shift immediately you neglect wearing a suitable retainer after braces removal.

Also, as you get older, the changing shape of your jaw will make teeth move. Not to mention teeth grinding, pressures from eating, talking and other health issues.

In sum, and although you might notice it happening, our teeth are always on the move.

Fortunately, there are several strategies to keep our teeth in a healthy alignment. Among them is the use of retainers.

Still, there are uncleared doubts about whether retainers effectively stop or minimize teeth shifting.

Read on to learn more about retainers and whether they can help with teeth shifting.

If Your Teeth Shift Can Your Retainer Fix It?

Retainers are orthodontic appliances and custom mouthpieces to help fix the slightest shifts of your teeth. They are made of transparent material, barely visible when in place in most cases.

Also, some consist of an inner-skin colored bridge with a single metal wire visible across teeth.

Retainers are either permanent or temporary. You can remove temporary retainers before brushing or flossing.

On the other hand, fixed retainers are attached to the backs of the teeth to secure them in place firmly. 

Retainers are helpful after removing orthodontic appliances such as braces, or teeth straightening applications like Invisalign surgery.

Typically, your teeth will shift back to their original position from the force applied to them, such as grinding and chewing. That’s where retainers come in handy since they prevent this from happening.

In addition, after wearing an orthodontic appliance, wearing retainers ensures your teeth remain properly positioned as new tissue and bone harden to secure them in place. 

Still, it’s vital to understand that you have to wear retainers properly for them to be effective.

Most importantly, they have to fit your teeth perfectly for them to work. Your retainer must be of proper shape and size according to your jaw.

A slight difference in its alignment can make your teeth look even more shapeless than before, causing more irritation and anxiety.

Note that retainers can only fix slight differences or gaps between your teeth.

Also, this is why they aren’t ideal for improving significant shifts.

Wearing a retainer with a large change might be uncomfortable and will unlikely be effective. So, for the query, if your teeth shift can your retainer fix it? The answer is yes, but only for small shifts. 

Moreover, it’s best to wear a retainer continuously for 12 hours a day for at least six months.

In addition, for the remaining duration of your orthodontic requirement, you will have to use retainers when you sleep.

This prevents your teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

Why Do Teeth Shift Even After Straightening?

Teeth straightening are not the ultimate solution for crooked teeth. Crocked teeth can start taking back their shape at any time soon.

But there are hacks that you can use to track this process. Retainers are the most useful tool to stop the teeth from shifting after straightening.

So, let’s understand the causes behind teeth shifting even after straightening them.

1. Soft Bones

Straightening of teeth takes time. For complete straightened teeth, the bones need to be strong enough to hold them tight.

After you remove the braces, the bones are still soft and, thus, tend to come back to their original position. 

This is why teeth start shifting immediately after removing braces or Invisalign. To avoid this, you must use a retainer right after removing your braces until your bones harden up.

2. Teeth Grinding

Long after teeth straightening and even after your bones harden up, you may see the slight shifting of your teeth. This may be because of your bad habit of grinding your teeth.

If you want straightened teeth for a long time, immediately stop this habit or get ready to waste your money again on braces.

3. Tooth Loss

After you lose one or more teeth, a gap develops between your teeth. This gap can disrupt the synchronization of your straightened jaw.

As a result, your teeth would start shifting toward the hollow portion. 

Eventually, your teeth can take a different shape, and gaps may also develop.

This process is very slow and cannot be easily recognized. But once you evidence the slightest change, visit your dentist to cure it at an early stage.


Retainers can be a friend and foe. You just need to know about it to get the best results. We suggest you go to a professional and well-known dentist to know more about if your teeth shift can your retainer fix it.

An amateur dentist might do some discrepancies due to which you can suffer badly.

Thus, go to a dentist you trust to know if your teeth need a retainer and its application. Retainers are super budget-friendly and easier to carry than braces. We wish you a happy smile!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wearing an Old Retainer to Straighten Teeth Work?

Yes, even after years of removing your braces, you can use your retainer to realign your teeth.

Can Retainers Fix Jaw Alignment?

Yes, but in severe cases, retainers alone may not be able to fix it. You need to put on retainers or braces for 8-12 months to fix your jaw alignment.

Should I Wear My Retainer If It Hurts?

Wearing a retainer may hurt at first. But you will get habituated with time. However, if it is hurting a lot and being unbearable, then you must consult your dentist.

Can I Force My Retainer To Fit Again?

If your retainer stops fitting correctly, it would be best to consult your orthodontist, who can adjust it to work again or replace the retainer that doesn’t fit. Wearing an unfitting retainer can be uncomfortable and cause abnormal shifts.

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