How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer?

How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer?


A retainer is used to keep your teeth from moving after you’ve had them straightened with braces. But, how long you might have to wear one depends on you.

After all, every person, and every person’s mouth, is different. It can take four months, six months, or a year for your teeth repositioning to become permanent.

So, it’s important that during that time, you prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. Having and wearing a retainer prevents that occurrence from happening, and prevents that shifting from undoing all your orthodontic hard work!

Does Everyone Need to Wear a Retainer?

Many orthodontists recommend that their patients wear retainers after their treatment with braces is finished. 

While the average time of wearing those retainers full time is around six months, it can vary; some orthodontists recommend having a retainer for a much longer period. 

Do You Wear a Retainer All Day, Every Day? Or Just Occasionally?

In most instances, you will only have to wear a retainer full time for six  months on a daily basis. Then you can drop down to wearing it nightly after that. 

However, in some cases, orthodontists will prescribe what is called a permanent lingual retainer that you keep in your mouth for an extended period of time, whether that’s a number of years, or a long term, ongoing commitment. 

Your orthodontist will recommend whatever type of treatment works best for you. 

What Happens If You Don’t Wear a Retainer?

Throughout your life teeth move to some extent. It can depend upon age and what type or orthodontic treatment you’ve worn when it comes to what can happen with teeth movement after professional straightening. Simply put, just because your orthodontic treatment is complete, it doesn’t mean that your teeth will stay in place forever. 

Wearing a retainer according to your orthodontist’s instruction prevents your teeth from shifting back into their former placement, a condition which is called relapsing. But if you skip wearing a retainer for weeks or months, your teeth may shift, and you could need more orthodontic treatment again.

The simple prevention?

Wear your retainer! Wearing a retainer as instructed by your orthodontist is the best way for you to maintain straight teeth – the result of your braces.

And while you are wearing one, keep that retainer clean!

How to Clean a Retainer

A fixed retainer will need to be flossed as well as the front of your teeth, and when brushing, angle your toothbrush so that it will reach and get rid of any plaque or food particles around the retainer. 

A removable retainer is simple to clean. You’ll just remove it and rinse it with warm, but not hot, water every time you remove it. You can also buy a soaking solution to clean it, or use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to clean it once a day. Ask your orthodontist what is recommended. 

Ready to Learn More About Retainers?

If you’d like to know more about retainers, and how they can help you retain your straight smile after orthodontic treatment is complete, reach out to us today. We would be happy to discuss everything from retainers to teeth straightening options at Signature Orthodontics!