How long will I be wearing a retainer?
We get this question a lot from patients. Their braces or aligners are fresh off. They love their new smiles and it feels like treatment is over — but the only way to keep it "over" is to retain the progress that's been made.
As the name "retainer" implies, retainers are designed to help you keep the improvements that your orthodontist and you worked so hard to produce. So, a better question would be how much do I have to wear my retainer to keep my new smile?
First 3-6 months - The first 3-6 months after your braces or aligners come off are very critical. You'll most likely be wearing your retainer 12-22 hours a day, depending on the specifics of your case.
Next 6 months - if you've put in the required hours in the first 3-6 months, you'll most likely move to wearing your retainer overnight for the next 6 months or so.
After year 1 - Depending on your needs, we will suggest a certain amount of retainer usage after you complete your first year of retention, usually between 3-5 days a week. This is how we make sure your beautiful results last indefinitely.
Teeth tend to slowly shift inward and forward as you age. The only way to prevent this migration is a retainer.
Try to think of your retainer as a part of your mouth. It needs daily hygiene too. Remove your retainer when you brush and floss and make sure you give your retainer a good brushing too before popping it back in.
If you show discipline in this final stage of treatment, it's not unreasonable to think that your healthy, beautiful smile could last a lifetime.