How Long Should You Wear a Retainer?
You’ve just finished your orthodontic treatment. Yay!
Your smile looks fantastic, and it feels so good to be free of braces finally. But wait! The orthodontist says you will need to wear a retainer as a follow-up treatment.
So, now you want to know:
- How long should you wear a retainer?
- When should you wear this retainer?
Don’t worry; you can find the answers to all your questions in this article.
The purpose of orthodontic treatment
Many people feel self-conscious or embarrassed by the appearance of their crooked teeth. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to move teeth into their ideal, best-looking positions.
Common orthodontic problems we often see include:
- Crooked teeth
- Teeth with gaps
- Crowded teeth
- Crossbite, overbite, underbite
Treatment with traditional metal braces or clear aligners like Invisalign® can erase these problems, giving you a straight, healthy smile.
Once you finish your orthodontic treatment and your teeth are now beautifully straight, you need to start wearing a retainer.
Why wear a retainer after braces?
Moving teeth into a new position is a slow process. In some cases, it can take years.
However, when your braces come off, the process is not over. Your bones, gums, and muscles all need time to adjust to your teeth’s change in positions.
A retainer is a removable or fixed appliance worn on the outside of the teeth to “retain” them in place. It’s usually made of metal wires and clear plastic.
If you do not wear a retainer, the result can be an orthodontic relapse, where your teeth move back into their old, remembered positions. All the money and time you invested in having a straight smile is wasted!
But how long should you wear a retainer? Weeks… months… forever?
When and how long should you wear a retainer?
For both adults and teens, it’s vital to wear a retainer immediately after you’ve finished treatment when your teeth are still establishing their new positions.
However, every orthodontic case is different. For some, it will require wearing a retainer 24/7 for the first few months. For others, it can mean wearing it full-time for the first year following treatment. After that, you will only need to wear it at night while you sleep.
So, how long should you wear a retainer? To protect your investment, it’s best to continue to wear your retainer at night indefinitely unless directed otherwise by your orthodontist, Dr. Jay Zuroff. He will be able to tell you how long you need to wear it based on your smile’s unique needs.
How to care for your retainer
You can ensure the longevity and comfort of your retainer by following these simple tips:
- Take it out before you eat – Put your retainer in your case to enjoy your meal – retainer-free. Brush your teeth before putting it back in.
- Remove when brushing – Always remove your retainer before brushing and flossing so you can do a thorough job.
- Clean it regularly – Use your regular toothbrush and toothpaste to remove all debris and build-up. Store your retainer in a breathable container that promotes airflow to guard against mold or bacteria.
If you lose it, call our office in Kennewick immediately to order a replacement.
Retain your new smile and your confidence
A straight smile is a valuable asset. It’s good for your health, is pleasing for other people to see, and makes you feel good about yourself.
Protecting your newly straightened smile is the smart thing to do. Our team at Zuroff Orthodontic Care will be happy to answer any of your questions about orthodontic treatments and retainers.
Contact our Orthodontist in Kennewick, WA by any of these means: