Do I Have to Wear a Retainer Forever?

The day your braces come off is an exciting time. After all of the hard work you’ve put into your orthodontic treatment, you’re now able to see the results from your efforts. There won’t be any more adjustment appointments or food restrictions, and you’re finally able to enjoy your perfect smile for life. However your work isn’t done. You have perfect teeth now, but if you want them to stay that way, wearing your retainer is is essential. So if you’re asking yourself, “Do I have to wear a retainer forever?” The answer is yes!

A Retainer’s Job

Once braces come off or Invisalign treatment is complete, your teeth are at great risk of shifting, and that’s where retainers come in to save the day. Retainers are used to prevent the shifting of your teeth, helping them to stay in their correct positions. Your teeth continuously shift all through life, not just after you finish treatment so wearing your retainer is a must!

There are two types of retainers that are generally used following treatment, fixed and removable. Fixed retainers are typically attached to the backs of the teeth and cannot be taken out. Removable retainers can be taken in and out at any time. Fixed retainers may be used on teeth your orthodontist feels may need a little extra help staying in place.

Wearing Your Retainer

Now that we know how retainers work, what’s your part in all of this? Wearing your retainer after braces have been removed is crucial, especially right away as your teeth have the greatest risk for shifting in the first year after treatment. Your orthodontist may recommend the following instructions for wearing your retainer:

  • 12-22 hours every day for the first year
  • Remove only to eat and drink for the first year
  • 3-5 times per week after year one

Although this may seem like quite the responsibility, abiding by these instructions will help you to maintain your beautiful smile for life.

The Importance of Proper Retainer Wear

Since our teeth shift, wearing your retainer properly is essential to the success of your treatment. Remember, your treatment doesn’t end once your braces have been removed. It’s up to you to do your part in maintaining your perfect smile for the rest of your life. Failure to wear your retainer properly may result in your teeth shifting back to their original positions. When this happens, you can end up needing another round of orthodontic treatment, which can mean more time and more money spent on something that could have been avoided.

So, if you’re thinking of ditching your retainer after treatment, think again. It’s not worth the risk of having all of your hard work be for nothing. Listen to your orthodontist’s instructions and take care of your smile. After all, you only get one!

At Austin Orthodontics, our team is here to help you through every step of your orthodontic journey. Call (512) 331-7900 to get started!