When Do I Wear a Retainer?

When you complete orthodontic treatment to amend bite problems and build the straight smile of your dreams, you can look forward to maintaining this enhanced smile with retainers. These devices are custom-made to fit over your teeth to keep them in this newly aligned position in the mouth. Without retainers, freshly straightened teeth will quickly start to shift out of place, becoming crooked once more.

Preserve the look and feel of your straight smile by complying with your orthodontist’s recommendations and wearing retainers as directed. But what does the retainer treatment plan entail? Check out responses from your orthodontist to frequently asked questions regarding the need for a retainer when you read on.

When Do I Wear a Retainer

Who Needs to Wear a Retainer?

Any patients who undergo orthodontic treatment will need to wear retainers at the end of the process. Whether you had braces or used Invisalign to push your teeth into a straighter alignment and fix bite problems, you will need retainers to ensure these changes stay in place.

The retainer ensures teeth have nowhere to move when they attempt to shift back to their original position over time. Eventually, the teeth will get used to the new alignment, and you might be able to wear aligners less frequently.

Sometimes, if you skip wearing retainers for a day or two, the appliances might fit improperly, and the teeth need to be pushed back into place with the retainers. But if you do not wear retainers for longer than this, then you may suffer orthodontic relapse and may require more treatment to fix rearising issues. Make sure you consult your orthodontist and attend follow-up appointments as needed to get the most out of your retainers and your treatment.

How Long Do I Need to Wear Retainers During the Day?

When you first begin wearing retainers directly after orthodontic treatment, you should wear them as often as possible. Ideally, you should fit retainers over your teeth for 22 hours per day, including during sleep. You may remove retainers during mealtimes, but rinse them before placing them back in your mouth.

After eight weeks or so, you might start to wear retainers for just 12 hours per day. Eventually, you can wear retainers overnight only. Gradually, you might adjust your retainer schedule to every other night or three or five times a week. The treatment plan for retainers can vary depending on the extent of orthodontic work completed in your smile.

Do I Need to Use a Retainer Forever?

An orthodontist will usually recommend indefinite usage of retainers following orthodontic treatment. But as mentioned, treatment plans can be different depending on the severity of past bite problems.

You can receive a removable or a fixed retainer based on your preferences. But you will likely want to keep wearing retainers for many years. If your retainer suffers damage or wears down, contact your orthodontist’s office to receive a new one.