How long do I need to wear a retainer after braces?
Teeth have a tendency to want to shift and move. Even as adults, teeth are inclined to shift forward over time. Because of such tendencies, wearing a retainer after braces is critical for keeping the teeth in alignment. Since each orthodontic case is unique, the instructions for retainer wear after braces are as well. A good rule of thumb is to wear your retainer for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. This will reduce the risk of the teeth going back into the position they were before your orthodontic treatment.
Whether you have gone through orthodontic treatment via Invisalign or 6 Month Smiles, a customized plan will be given regarding retainer wear. Immediately following treatment, most patients are told to wear their retainers at all times other than when eating, drinking, or brushing/flossing. After 6 months, most patients only need to wear their retainers at night. Sometimes, after a year, patients can begin an every other night regimen. If placing the retainer ever feels tight, going back to a more frequent wear time is advised as this is a sign that the teeth are trying to shift.
With proper care and handling, most patients get 1-3 years out of a retainer. Eventually they will crack and wear out. Allowing Dr. Michaelson and our team to check your retainers at your routine cleanings will ensure they are fitting properly.