If you’re at the end of your braces treatment then congratulations to you! Straightening your teeth requires both patience and pain-bearing abilities. It can drain your energy and spoil your mood. But in the end, you can enjoy the smile you have always craved for. However, many people feel devasted when they hear about wearing a retainer. A common question people feel like asking is “How long will I have to wear a retainer?”

If you are worried that wearing a retainer might be like braces this is not true. Handling a retainer is much easier and you’ll only have to wear it for a short time. Not wearing the retainer won’t do any good but only reverse your orthodontic treatment.

Why It’s Important to Wear a Retainer?

The first thing after getting free from the braces or Invisalign is to make up a plan to wear a retainer. Braces have changed the position of your teeth but won’t stay there for long unless you do something about it.

When your teeth move to new positions they leave behind space in the tissue and surrounding bone. Your retainers will keep the teeth intact while the tissue fills the gap. For this reason, wearing retainers is crucial for the first 3-6 months.

Your teeth are always on the move and retainers are a good way to prevent this as you become older.

Gradually the process slows down but once you stop wearing your retainer, your pearly whites will revert to their initial position.

Your teeth never forget their original alignment and always try to creep back even if the bones or ligaments surrounding your teeth are altered.

The Stages of Wearing a Removable Retainer

In certain cases, your orthodontist will attach a permanent retainer to the backs of your teeth. Patients that receive this will wear the retainers all the time, even while they eat and brush. This style of retainer can only be removed by a dentist, and when this is taken out, patients will receive a removable retainer to wear during sleep.

Most patients are given a set of retainers that are removed for eating and brushing. We’ve seen the best results when our clients wear their retainer on the following schedule:

The First 3-6 Months: During this time, retainers should be worn for 22 hours a day or more. The only time they should be removed is to brush and floss or to eat. Your orthodontist will continue to monitor your progress before approving you to wear them at night only.

The First 2 Years: After your initial time of full-time wear, you will be able to start wearing your retainers during sleep only.

From the Third Year to the Rest of Your Life: Now, you can wear your retainers a little bit less. Skipping an occasional night or two is no big deal. A good rule of thumb is to aim to wear them every other night.