a smiling dental patient has their braces checked

How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer?

Team Orthodontics, Retainer

If you have worn braces for any amount of time, hearing the word that your treatment is over is cause for celebration. You will gain some freedoms back - and you will do so with a beautifully straight smile. That is, until your orthodontist hands you your new retainer. 

While you may feel like you took one step forward to take two steps back, it is all for a good reason. Wearing a retainer is a necessary part of keeping your teeth looking as good tomorrow as they do today. So, why do you have to wear one? And how long do you have to wear it? 

The Importance of a Retainer

Retainers are important in keeping newly aligned teeth in alignment. After all, you may have moved the position of your teeth, but the surrounding gum and bone aren’t quite strong enough to keep them there. Yet, anyways. Until then, a retainer offers support. The more you talk, eat, and get through your day with your teeth in their new position, the more comfortable they will get - and eventually decide to stay.

Unfortunately, there is always going to be a patient newly freed from braces who refuses to wear their retainer. Slowly, their teeth will begin to shift back toward their initial position. This often happens so steadily and discreetly you won’t notice it at first. Wait too long and your teeth will relapse - potentially requiring you to go through another braces treatment. 

Retainers aren’t as binding as traditional braces - so just consider them to be insurance for your smile.  

How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer? 

Now that you know why you need to wear your retainer, let’s talk about how long you will need to do so. When you first get your retainer, you will likely wear it to bed nightly,  removing it only to eat and to care for your teeth. 

Once your teeth appear to be settling into their new spot nicely, your orthodontist may then tell you that you can start wearing the retainer less than every night. This can help you feel like you’ve got a little more freedom throughout your evenings.

Just how long will you have to wear your retainer at night? Your orthodontist will give you the best timeline based on your treatment. The more complex your orthodontic needs and the greater movement of your teeth, the longer you will likely have to wear your retainer. But after the first year or so you can usually switch to wearing your retainer just a few nights each week. Though, keep in mind, the more you wear it, the better security you have that your teeth will remain straight. 

Ideally, you should consider wearing your retainer at night for the rest of your life. Talk with your orthodontist and discover the best course of action for you. 

Discover More About Retainers at Greater Hartford Orthodontics

At Greater Hartford Orthodontics, we’ve got options when it comes to retainers. You will find the best option for your needs so that you can maintain your beautiful smile for years to come. Ready to learn more? 

Contact our office at 860-667-8277. Or, request an appointment online.