Why you need a retainer and for how long

Why You Need a Retainer and How Long You Have to Wear It

Your braces are off and you have a perfect smile. After months or years of hard work, you’re finally able to enjoy your smile, free from the brackets and wires or plastic aligners, but what comes next? Your orthodontist is about to preach to you about the importance of wearing your retainer. Maintaining your perfect smile for life is on you, but with the proper tools and guidance, you’ll be able to do that with ease. Here’s why you need a retainer and how long you have to wear it.

Why Retainers Are Important

Retainers are the part of your orthodontic treatment plan that ensures your teeth don’t shift back to their original positions after you’ve finished with braces or Invisalign. Our teeth are always shifting; however, they have the greatest chance of shifting in the first year after treatment. That’s why wearing your retainer properly is going to be imperative to your success. Two types of retainers are typically recommended by orthodontists: fixed and removable. Depending on your individual issue, your orthodontist may provide you with one type or the other, or a combination of both.

Proper Retainer Wear

Your orthodontist will give you detailed instructions on when to wear your retainer and for how long, so it’s important to listen carefully. Not wearing your retainer can result in your teeth going back to their original positions, which in turn can mean more treatment with braces or Invsalign, and more money. As soon as your braces come off, your orthodontist will instruct you to wear your retainer for most of the day, every day, only removing it to eat and drink.

After the first year, you may be advised to wear it only at night or just a few times per week. This will, of course, depend on your orthodontic issues and your orthodontist. You’ll then be instructed to wear your retainer for the rest of your life to avoid shifting of the teeth. Remember, no matter how old we are, our teeth continue to shift.

Retainer Maintenance

Maintaining your retainer is imperative, and following these helpful tips will help you get the most of your treatment:

  • Clean your retainer regularly, so bacteria doesn’t build up.
  • Have a designated place to put your retainer, so it doesn’t become lost.
  • Keep your retainer case clean and free from germs.

If you abide by the rules set forth by your orthodontist, you’ll have no problem maintaining a beautiful smile for life. Remember the importance of your retainer, wear it, take care of it and most of all, enjoy your smile! You’ve earned it!