How long do you wear retainers
Many individuals love the sweet moment of having their braces finally removed. This can be a huge feeling of achievement especially if you have been wearing your braces for many months or years. That feeling of finally being liberated and able to smile without anything in your mouth can be a huge boost to your self-esteem and personal well-being.
And although you should not take this achievement lightly, there is still follow-up which almost all orthodontists will universally recommend and that is the need to wear retainers. This leads to one of the most difficult stages for orthodontists. This is because it can be especially challenging for patients to retain the progress achieved during treatment (Naidu S & Suresh A, 2018).Your orthodontist has probably mentioned the need for wearing retainers before you even begin your orthodontic treatment but now that you are at this stage, it’s finally time to pay more attention to this aspect of your treatment.
Retention of the correct alignments and dental shifts is a significant part of orthodontic treatment (Naidu S & Suresh A, 2018). This leads to many different questions from some people who ask do I have to wear my retainer forever? to less dramatic questions like how long do you wear retainers or how long do retainers last? Of course all of these questions speak to a common root feeling, which is how much longer will you have to continue with orthodontic treatment?
How Long do You Have to Wear Retainers?
As unsurprising as this may sound,when it comes to how long to wear a retainer, times will vary. An orthodontist may answer the question “how long do you have to wear retainers?” with a simple “until you don’t need them anymore”. The fact of the matter is that all orthodontic treatment including retainers is individualistic medicine. Because of this, it’s impossible to be able to give an exact time for how long individuals will have to wear their retainers as every person is an individual and every treatment is unique.
However, by talking with your orthodontic office they can give you a good indication of how long you can expect to wear your retainer. Some individuals only have to wear their retainers constantly 24 hours a day, or as close as they can get, for only a few months while others might be expected to wear their retainers for as close to 24 hours a day as they can for several years. Why is there such a difference in the amount of time required?
Again that comes down to individualistic medicine. Your teeth after they have been pulled into the correct positions by your orthodontics and braces need time to be able to set into their new positions. If you do not wear a retainer, there is a strong chance that your teeth may decide to try to revert back to their original positions. Your body likes things to be where it feels they should be and your teeth are no different. If it is accustomed to your teeth being in the wrong positions, your teeth may well begin to shift back into those bad positions if you do not wear a retainer.
A retainer is exactly what it sounds like, a device designed to retain your teeth in new positions. Of course the longer you wear a retainer for, the less chance there is of your teeth going back to the wrong positions as your body becomes accustomed to this new normal.
How long to wear a retainer
As mentioned, the longer you wear them, the less likelihood of your teeth going back into the wrong positions. However, this does not mean that you should let up on your treatment as sometimes teeth can begin to shift slowly and you may not even notice that you are losing ground that you gained with your braces. This is why it is absolutely essential to follow your orthodontic directions to the letter and if they recommend wearing your orthodontic retainer for as close to all day long as you can manage, then that is something you should definitely do.
However, even after you are officially freed from utilizing retainers, whether it is months or years, many orthodontists will still recommend wearing them at night. This can be for a variety of reasons such as individuals who clench their teeth or grind their teeth while they sleep may be more prone to having teeth shift out of the new position and so wearing retainers while they sleep can help them keep the smile that they worked so hard to get with their braces.
How long do retainers last?
Faced with the prospect of having to wear them for months or years, and then likely at night indefinitely, this leads other individuals to ask the question about how long they can expect their retainers to last? And again an honest answer is, it depends. Of course in this case it largely depends on you. The better care you take of your retainer, the longer it will ask.
One thing that affects many individuals and causes them to have to spend needless extra hundreds of dollars to get new retainers is they simply are careless with the ones they have. Forgetting where they put them, losing them, and even breaking them are all things that affect individuals with retainers, especially those who are used to wearing braces. You do not have to remember to put your braces back on and so individuals can often forget to wear their retainers as often as necessary.
How Long Do You Need to Wear Retainers?
There is a simple solution to this and that is to get permanent retainers that are installed. These allow for significantly less conscious effort to wear them as you’ll be wearing them 24/7 similar to your braces. This will also allow them to work faster and ideally complete your treatment sooner. Only your orthodontic specialist can recommend this for you and so have a discussion with them about your particular needs, habits, and level of responsibility. This way you can care for your own orthodontic care which will help you and your orthodontist to make informed choices and recommendations about the best kind of retainers for you to wear to maintain the beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
There are so many different types of retainers, and each of them have their specific advantages. For example, according to Butler J (2005), using fixed retainers can it more difficult to maintain good dental hygiene. You will need to speak to your orthodontist about which retainer is best for you.
Jonathan Butler. (2005). Orthodontic bonded retainers. Journal of the Irish Dental Association, 51(1), 29–32. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7945888_Orthodontic_bonded_retainers
Shyamala Naidu & Anand Suresh. (2018). ORTHODONTIC RETAINERS. Orthoodntics. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338990573_ORTHODONTIC_RETAINERS/link/5e37c3a9299bf1cdb9084dbf/download