Do I Have To Wear My Retainer Forever?

Regardless of the type of Orthodontic treatment you have had, Invisalign or Braces, retainers need to be worn in order to maintain the beautiful smile that your Orthodontist has created. Teeth always want to move back to where they were originally positioned, so it’s important to ensure a retainer is worn to minimise any tooth movement. But how long should you wear your retainer for?

During the process of orthodontics, the teeth are moved into their desired position using a light and continuous force. Once the orthodontic treatment is complete, the bone is still soft from the movement completed, therefore it is critical that a retainer is worn to ensure this bone can settle and stabilize in the tooth’s new position.

At Mehta Orthodontics, we recommend you wear your retainer full-time for the first 3 months. This means all day and night, unless you are eating, brushing, playing sports or drinking non-water beverages. After these critical 3 months, you may reduce your hours down to 18 hours a day. This normally means not wearing the retainer at school but wearing it at all other hours. After 6 months, you may further reduce to 12 hours a day, which means every night. Finally, following 12 months of wearing your retainer every night, you can reduce to alternate nights or 3 nights per week.

Time after braces are removed                 Hours required to wear retainer

For first 3 months                                                  24 hours

After 3 months                                                        18 hours

After 6 months                                                        12 hours

After 12 months                                                      Alternate nights or 3 nights per week

If you find your retainer feels tight once it is placed in, it could be a sign that your teeth are starting to move. In order to correct this, it is important to increase the wear of your retainer until the retainer fits comfortably. Once it has settled, you may slowly begin reducing hours until you are able to wear it every alternate night without movement. It is important that you maintain this routine for as long as you would like your teeth to remain straight.

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