Whether you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, you’ll need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth straight. A retainer could be a metal framework with plastic molded to fit your teeth, or, you may have an Invisalign clear retainer that’s not as noticeable. Regardless, wearing your retainer is an essential step in your orthodontic treatment—but how long do you have to wear your retainer after braces?
Immediately Following Treatment, Wear 24/7
Immediately after getting your braces off or ending your Invisalign therapy, you’ll need to wear your retainer full-time, or, as recommended by your orthodontist. Some orthodontists may recommend a minimum of four to six months of full-time wear, while others will recommend a year . This means that you’ll need to wear your retainer as often as possible both throughout the day and while asleep to prevent your teeth from drifting back into their original positions.
You can remove your retainer for eating and cleaning, but otherwise, try to wear it at all times!
You Must Continue to Wear Your Retainer for Life to Prevent Teeth Shifting
After the recommended full-time period of wearing your retainer is up, you will still need to continue to wear your retainer to stop your teeth from shifting. You won’t need to wear it 24/7, but you should aim to wear it nightly for the best results. Yes, this means for life! The good news is that there’s evidence to suggest that wearing your retainer part-time is just as effective at wearing it full-time, so even if you can only manage a few nights a week, it’s better than not wearing your retainer at all post-treatment !
What Happens If You Don’t Wear Your Retainer?
If you neglect to wear your retainer—either immediately following your treatment or after you’ve worn your retainer full-time for several months—your teeth will begin to slowly shift back into their original positions, undoing all your orthodontic work. It’ll take time, but eventually, you could end up with an overbite, crowding, or alignment issues . These are all reasons people seek orthodontia in the first place, and if you’ve spent months or years getting treatment, it’s likely you’re not anxious to have crooked teeth again!
Wear Your Retainer!
Wearing your retainer may feel like a chore at first, especially since you want to enjoy your beautiful new straight teeth once the braces are off! However, it’s essential to follow your orthodontist’s instructions post-treatment to keep your teeth straight. Make a commitment to wear your retainer as instructed to help keep your smile in alignment for a lifetime of straight teeth!