I lost my retainer. I’m really bummed because I don’t have money for a new one. I had my teeth whitened right after my braces were done. I still have the whitening trays. Could they substitute for my retainer until my finances improve?
Nancy G. – New Jersey
That’s a shame about your retainer. Unfortunately, teeth whitening trays are not good substitutes. For one, retainers are firm. They’re designed to keep your teeth in place. The whitening trays, on the other hand, are purposefully made soft and flexible. They’re designed to be as comfortable as possible. That doesn’t make them good candidates for holding your teeth in place.
Your teeth will start shifting. It’s hard to tell exactly how soon. A lot of that depends on how long it’s been since your orthodontic treatment ended. The longer you’ve had the retainer, the more time you’ll have before they start drifting. Your age is also a factor. If your younger then mid- 20s, your jaw may still may still be growing. That will make it more likely for your teeth to shift.
This doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless. Most dentists are caring individuals. If you explain your situation, I’m sure your dentist or orthodontist will look for affordable solutions for you. They’ll likely even make you a new retainer and give you time to pay it out.
No one wants your teeth to shift, risking you losing all the progress of your treatment.
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