Often people ask us how long they need to wear their retainer for after having orthodontic treatment. There are many factors that may influence how long someone needs to wear their retainer, but the best recommendation we can give you is to wear your retainers for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight. Simply, the longer you wear the retainer, the longer your teeth will remain in their desired position since teeth can shift without regular wear of a retainer.
The Purpose of Retainers
Regardless of whether you had traditional braces or Invisalign treatment, you will still need to wear a retainer in order to maintain the results achieved through orthodontic treatment. Without consistent wear for the rest of your life, you unfortunately risk the chance of your teeth returning to their pre-orthodontic position.
A simple way of understanding why this happens is to think of your teeth as having a memory of their own. Typically, it takes about a year for teeth to become stable in a new position. During this time period, your teeth are especially likely to want to shift back to their old position because bone has not yet fully formed around their new position to keep them stable. A retainer helps train your teeth to stay in their new ideal position while this process takes place.
Timeline of Retainers
For the first 3-6 months of being braces free, you should aim to wear your retainers 12 hours a day or otherwise instructed by your orthodontist. When your orthodontist feels confident enough that you are achieving some stability, they will allow you to transition to nighttime-only wear. You should continue wearing your retainer every night until you have been wearing retainers for about a year. After a year has passed, you should be okay to wear your retainer every other night for the rest of your life.
If you ever feel that your retainer feels tight, you should resume wearing it every night until the retainer slightly loosens into a more comfortable position. As you age, your teeth will begin to naturally shift forward. This process does not happen instantly, but over time it can have a noticeable effect on your smile. Wearing your retainers regularly will help prevent this from happening.
So, the simple answer is you need to be wearing your retainers consistently for the rest of your life if you want to maintain the straightness of your teeth. However, after the first year you can go from wearing them every night to every other night. If you want any more information on our retainers or if you need some new retainers making, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0161 884 1481.