If you have had past orthodontic work, such as braces or Invisalign®, you probably have a retainer. But what happens if you don’t wear your retainer?
What Is a Retainer?
A retainer is a removable orthodontic appliance that helps to keep your teeth in place after braces have been taken off. Some retainers are like clear aligners while others are made of wires and plastic. They are custom-made to fit your mouth perfectly to ensure that if you wear your retainer regularly, your teeth will stay straight. As long as you take care of them, retainers can last quite a long time. In contrast, permanent retainers are permanently bonded to the back of your teeth and are not removed. But not all patients are good candidates, as these require excellent oral hygiene and can feel bothersome to some.
How Long to Wear a Retainer After Braces
Everyone’s teeth and alignment issues are unique so how often you need to wear your removable retainer after you’ve gotten your braces off is dependent on your specific situation. Many patients need to wear their retainer every day and night for at least one month. This is because your teeth are most susceptible to go back to their incorrect alignment right after your braces are taken off. From there, people generally start wearing the retainer at night. As time goes on, you may only have to wear your retainer about four nights per week. Over time, you’ll also have to replace your retainer if it breaks, gets lost, or if your teeth shift. Consult with our expert team whether you need a new retainer at your next appointment.
What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Retainer?
After your braces are removed, the tissues that hold your teeth in place often want to move back into their natural position and out of the straight alignment your braces put them in. Without the brackets and wires holding your teeth in place, they likely will move back into their original position. To prevent this, retainers put the needed pressure on your teeth to keep them in place. It is vital to wear your retainer if you want to maintain your straight smile! But don’t worry if your shift have shifted–we can help you achieve a straight smile again.
More Questions? We Have Answers!
Contact us if you have any other questions about why it’s important to wear your retainer, if you need a new retainer, or if you’re ready for another round of orthodontics. We’d be thrilled to hear from you.