Your braces treatment may be history, but your retainers may be forever. Sorry if you didn’t know this fact, but it’s true. If you have had orthodontic treatment, you should wear a retainer not just after your braces are removed but may be for the rest of your life. How long do retainers last? Well, it varies person to person and depends on the types of retainers you choose.
The most important time to wear a retainer is right after your orthodontic treatment is completed, because at that time your teeth are just moved to their new position and the bone in your jaws needs time to solidify around the new position of your teeth. But even when your orthodontic treatment is a distant memory, your teeth can still shift.
How Long Should I Wear My Retainer?
One of the frequently asked questions at orthodontic experts is “how long should I wear my retainer after having orthodontic treatment?”. There are various factors that influence how long do retainers last, but the best recommendation our orthodontist can give you is to wear your retainers for as long as you want for 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 anytime due to not wearing retainer after braces.
The Purpose of Retainers
Whether you had traditional metal braces or Invisalign treatment, you will still need to wear a retainer in order to maintain the results achieved through orthodontic treatment. Not wearing retainer after braces may will increase the chance of your teeth returning to their pre-orthodontic position. A simple and easy way to understand why this happens is to think of your teeth as having a memory of their own.
It takes about a year for your teeth to become stable in their new position. During this period, your teeth may shift back to their old position because bone has not yet fully formed around the new position to keep your teeth stable. A retainer will help your teeth to stay in their new ideal position while this process takes place.
So, when you begin wearing a retainer, you should wear it pretty much consistently about a year, after that you can gradually decrease usage. Once your teeth have settled into place, It will be enough to wear your retainer 3 to 5 times a week while you sleep.
A retainer won’t last forever. How often do you need to replace them? That will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of retainer you choose.
Bonded retainer is a type of permanent retainer, in that it is a wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth. The glue that bonds the wire can wear out with the everyday activities like eating, talking, brushing and flossing. Usually a bonded retainer on your upper teeth may last up to three years, while on your lower teeth it will last longer, as this part of the mouth doesn’t see as much activity. These retainers are worn for a long period of time sometime forever.
As the name implies, A Removable Retainers is a retainer that can be removed before you eat, brush your teeth, or floss. There are two basic types of removable retainers, Hawley and Essix. Hawley retainers are made of a plastic base shape that fit the roof of your mouth and a strong wire that wraps around your teeth to hold them in place. While, Essix retainers are made of clear molded plastic that fit directly over your teeth.
We Are Here to Help You
It is always important to look on the bright side if you are wearing retainers! Even though wearing your retainer regularly may seem like a big commitment, but this is a much easier solution than having to undergo orthodontic treatment all over again.
If while wearing your retainer and anything feels uncomfortable, we advise you to please, contact Orthodontic Experts for an adjustment! We would be more than happy to help you with making your retainer much more comfortable so that you can wear it regularly.