Breaking Up with Your Retainer: What Happens 2 Years Later?
Oral Health Blog

Breaking Up with Your Retainer: What Happens 2 Years Later?


Orthodontic treatment often ends with the removal of braces or aligners, leaving you with a beautifully aligned smile. However, the journey doesn't stop there. Retainers are a crucial part of post-treatment care, ensuring your teeth remain in their new positions. But what happens if you stop wearing your retainer after two years? In this article, we'll explore the consequences of discontinuing retainer use and why it's essential to maintain this orthodontic routine.

What happens if I stop wearing my retainer after 2 years?

1. Teeth May Begin to Shift

One of the primary purposes of wearing a retainer is to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original positions. When you stop wearing your retainer after two years or any extended period, your teeth might gradually start to move. This process is often referred to as "retainer relapse."

2. Reversal of Orthodontic Progress

Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment in both time and money. If you discontinue retainer use, you risk reversing the progress made during your treatment. Your teeth may revert to their pre-treatment positions, leading to a less desirable smile.

3. Potential for Misalignment

Beyond aesthetics, misaligned teeth can also impact your bite and overall oral health. Stopping retainer use might lead to issues like malocclusion (improper bite) or difficulty chewing, which could require further orthodontic treatment to correct.

4. Discomfort and Readjustment

If you decide to resume retainer wear after a prolonged break, you may experience discomfort as your teeth readjust to the retainer's pressure. It can take time for your teeth to return to their previous alignment, and you may need orthodontic assistance to achieve this.

5. Lengthier Treatment the Second Time Around

Should your teeth significantly shift after discontinuing retainer use, you may need to undergo additional orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment. This can result in an extended treatment timeline and additional costs.

6. Importance of Consistency

The key to maintaining your orthodontic results is consistency. Orthodontists typically recommend wearing your retainer as instructed, which often includes full-time wear initially and then transitioning to nighttime wear. Sticking to this routine is essential to preventing retainer relapse.


In summary, stopping retainer wear after two years or any extended period can lead to various consequences, including teeth shifting, misalignment, discomfort, and potentially the need for further orthodontic treatment. To safeguard your investment in a beautifully aligned smile, it's crucial to follow your orthodontist's recommendations regarding retainer wear diligently.

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The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.