How Long Do I Need to Wear My Retainers?

April 10, 2020

Lady smiling and holding up a wired retainer in one hand and a clear retainer in the otherYou’ve finally gotten your braces off or finished your Invisalign treatment – amazing! Your next step is a clear, tooth hugging retainer. Lets go over all the information you need to know in order to use your retainer correctly!

What is a Retainer?

In the simplest of words, a retainer is a device that retains your new smile from moving. Even when you don’t feel it your teeth are constantly moving: this is called a mesial drift. Eventually your teeth can revert back to its pre-treatment state! That’s your biggest fear. The good news is, the more you wear your retainer, the less likely it is for your teeth to shift around.

How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?

The amount of time you wear your retainer will decrease as time goes on. When you first get your braces off you’re going to want to wear your retainer as frequently as possible. Let’s break down your retainer timeline:

  • 3-6 Months after braces: For the first 6 months treatment-free you’re going to want to wear your retainers for about 22 hours a day. It’s recommended that you only take them out to eat and brush your teeth, and to brush your retainers!
  • The first 2 years after braces: After meeting with your doctor and getting their approval, you’ll only have to wear your retainer at night!
  • After 2 Years: If you want your results to last, it’s good to wear your retainer as many evenings as possible (though this varies for each person). It’s best to check with your dentist or orthodontist. Keep in mind that retainers may need to be replaced from time to time, as they can stretch out.

Do I Really Need to Wear My Retainer?

The dreaded answer is yes. Not wearing your retainer for a while can possibly shift your teeth, erasing all the hard work you and your braces or Invisalign did. We know how embarrassing and long the process of perfecting your teeth can be, so honor yourself and the hard work by ensuring that you wear your retainers as directed!

Posted In: Orthodontics