The vast majority of people who receive orthodontic treatment will need to wear a retainer after their teeth are straightened and the orthodontia is removed.
These devices are custom made for your smile and typically involve metal wires and plastic—it might sound uncomfortable, but since it’s made for your unique smile, retainers are comfortable when worn properly!
However, many people don’t realize that they need to wear their retainer for much longer than expected. Depending on your unique case, most orthodontists recommend wearing these devices full-time for approximately one year after your orthodontic treatment is complete.
But do you need to wear your retainer forever? The answer may surprise you.
Yes, Because Your Teeth Will Shift!
Your teeth are vulnerable to shifting throughout your lifetime. Forces naturally exerted by the jaw when chewing and the aging process can cause the teeth to shift forward in the mouth, towards your lips.
This effect is amplified if you’ve received orthodontic treatment, as teeth can shift back to their original positions in the mouth. In order to maintain your newly-straightened teeth, you must wear your retainer for an indefinite amount of time after your treatment .
Don’t Worry, You Don’t Have to Wear Them 24/7
Generally, most orthodontists will recommend wearing your retainers nightly once your year or other specified time of wearing your retainers full-time is up. So while you won’t have to wear them during the day forever, you can and should still wear them every night to help maintain the alignment of your smile for the rest of your life .
Make Your Retainer Use Part of Your Oral Care Routine
It sounds like a big commitment to wear your retainer every night, but consider the consequences of not wearing your retainer.
For too many adults, having to invest in orthodontia again is an unfortunate reality of not wearing their retainer. For many, they had braces as a teenager but neglected to wear their retainer, forcing them to consider orthodontic treatment again as an adult.
It can feel difficult to get into a routine of wearing your retainer, especially if you haven’t worn it in a while. But the best way to commit to your straight smile is by incorporating your retainer use into your nightly oral care routine . Keep your retainer case by your toothbrush to remind you to wear it!
Don’t Forget About Your Retainer!
It can be tempting to think that you’re finally done with orthodontic appliances, especially if your treatment was lengthy. But wearing your retainer is the best way to keep your smile straight and prevent the need for future treatment. Even if you wear your retainer only a few nights a week, it’s better than not at all. Stay invested in your beautiful new smile by wearing your retainer regularly!