I had braces years ago and got an old-fashioned retainer (pink plastic with a wire) to wear afterward. I have since worn out the retainer. I also have some professional tooth bleaching trays made by my dentist that fit my teeth really well. Would wearing them be enough to keep them in alignment? I don’t use them for bleaching anymore, but my teeth don’t seem to have moved since I got them. Is it OK to just keep using these trays instead of getting a new retainer? I’ve been quoted about $300 to replace the retainer and I’d rather just use the trays if they work just as well.
-Frugal in Lisle
The quote for $300 for the retainer seems rather high. Could you get a second opinion from a different dentist? Retainers are not hard to make. A dentist just needs to get a good impression of your teeth, pour a model and then send it to a lab for fabrication.
In some cases, custom tooth-bleaching trays can do double-duty as retainers, depending on how well they still fit and the forces that are acting on the teeth to move them out of position.
In your situation, we would recommend using the trays that you have but paying careful attention to watch for any movement. If you notice any, then pursue getting a replacement orthodontic retainer—and get another estimate of the cost!