How Long Should You Wear a Retainer after Braces?

For all the time you’ve spent at the orthodontist’s, there’s no way you’ll want to mess up your beautiful results by not following up with proper care of your new smile. Once you’ve had your braces removed and your teeth are looking better than ever, it will be largely up to you to keep your teeth straight by wearing your retainer.

Here’s why it’s so important to follow instructions for wearing your retainer regularly, long after you’ve left the orthodontist’s chair:

What Is a Retainer?

After your visits to the orthodontist come to an end, you’ll be fitted with a custom-made device that you can pop in your mouth over your teeth to keep them aligned. Some retainers are fixed, and others are removable. Made of clear plastic and some wires, your retainer will fit your teeth so long as you wear it regularly.

How Long Do You Need to Wear a Retainer?

Right after you get your braces off, it’s very important that you wear your retainer often for a good 10 hours a night or as much as it takes to keep from moving. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how often you should wear your retainer in the weeks and months that follow your last appointment.

After that initial period, while your teeth gain stability in their new position, you should still wear your retainer every single night for the remainder of your life. This is very important in keeping your new smile perfect and in preventing your teeth from shifting years down the road.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear Your Retainer Regularly?

If you don’t continue to wear your retainer regularly as instructed, your teeth will shift, even if it doesn’t seem noticeable at first. As we age, our mouths and jaws continue changing, so it takes consistent guidance to keep your teeth straight. You’ll enjoy straight teeth for life if you wear your retainer every night.

There may be some times where your retainer feels a little tight, especially if you missed a few nights of wear. Each day that you haven’t worn, it can lead to the shifting of your teeth. If you can do so, resume wearing it every night until it sits more comfortably as it coaxes your teeth back in place.

What to Do If You Haven’t Been Wearing Your Retainer For a Long Time

If your retainer no longer fits due to lack of wear, you’ll have to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to schedule an appointment, the more likely you’ll lose the results of having worn braces.

Depending on how long you’ve gone without wearing your retainer, your orthodontist will either recommend a new retainer to get your teeth back to where they should be, or you’ll have to start all over again with orthodontic treatment. This is why it’s so important to wear your retainer each night for life.

Make An Appointment

If you’re interested in creating a straighter smile, or if you need help or have questions regarding your retainer, contact us today to schedule an appointment.