I Have to Wear Retainers. How Long Before I Can Take Them Off?

After what seems like ages, finally, it is time to remove your braces or invisalign! But, alas! Now your orthodontist tells you to wear a retainer. Believe it or not, your teeth can lose their new alignment if you do not wear retainers after braces, no matter how much you despise it. Hence, in any case, do not rebel against your retainers. So, how long do you have to wear a retainer?

Your retainers ensure that your straight smile is a reality, not a temporary illusion. How long you might have to keep them depends on a few factors. Carry on reading this blog to learn about wearing retainers after braces.

Importance of Wearing a Retainer After Braces

You must be wondering what the point of wearing retainers is if your teeth are perfectly aligned. The truth is, your teeth will not stay that straight if you stop wearing retainers. Just because your teeth are in proper alignment does not mean your bone tissues and ligaments are too. Therefore, the purpose of wearing retainers is to allow your bone tissue to catch up and move into the proper position. In simple terms, you need to wear retainers if you want to keep a perfectly straight smile.

Permanent vs. Removable Retainer: How Long to Wear Each?

You will have to wear either a removable retainer or a permanent one, depending on the condition of your teeth. In some cases, orthodontists recommend wearing both – one on the upper arch and the other on the bottom teeth. Moreover, they will tell you how long to wear the retainer for optimal results.

Generally, you will need to wear the retainers for the rest of your life. If you use removable retainers, you might have to wear them constantly for four months to a year only; the only exception is when you brush your teeth or eat. Once the prescribed time period has passed, they may recommend wearing retainers during the night.

On the other hand, fixed retainers are bonded to your teeth in a less obvious spot — which is usually the back of your teeth. Furthermore, you will need to wear the retainers longer, perhaps for years. With permanent retainers, you will not have to worry about removing them when eating or brushing. However, you must maintain your oral health to avoid issues with your gums and teeth.

Hence, the stages of wearing retainers are summarised below:

  • First 3-6 Months: 22 hours a day
  • First Two Years: Only at night after the orthodontist says so
  • Third Year to the Rest of Your Life: Every night regularly, but skipping once or twice will not be as bad.

Caring for Retainers

You should follow your orthodontist’s instructions to the dot when it comes to retainers. Hence, you can keep the retainer in proper condition to have a perfectly straight smile without having to wear it longer than needed. If you use fixed retainers, make sure to diligently floss and brush your teeth. In addition, use interdental brushes to remove plaque and tartar buildup. And don’t miss your dental cleaning and examinations!

For removable retainers, you can follow the following tips:

  • Keep the retainer in the case when it isn’t in use
  • Don’t let it come near or in contact with heat and pets
  • Properly clean the retainers as your orthodontist prescribed
  • Only drink water, and no other beverages, while you have the retainer on

What’s Next?

In conclusion, you will have to wear your retainers for the rest of your life. However, the required time to wear retainers will decrease with time. This is because your teeth keep shifting as you age, making it necessary to have retainers on. Our dental specialists at Porter Smile Dental can help you attain a beautiful smile. Visit us now at 21693 FM 1314 Ste 700, Porter, TX, 77365. Or schedule an appointment at 281 519 7200.