Do I Really Need to Wear My Retainer Once My Braces Are Removed?

wearing retainer

Bronx, NY – The day your braces come off is an exciting day! Patients are thrilled to see their beautiful new smiles – but the work isn’t finished quite yet. In order to ensure that smile stays right where it is, patients must be sure to wear their retainers as their orthodontist recommends.

We know you worked really hard during your treatment, and your retainer will be the key to making sure that hard work doesn’t go by the wayside. The job of a retainer is to do exactly what its name implies – retain your teeth in their positions once your braces are removed.

Your teeth will tend to try to drift back to their previous locations if you don’t wear your retainer. This is because the ligaments and tissues in your mouth have a bit of elasticity to them and until they are used to the new location of the teeth, they will want to pull your teeth right back to where they were. Therefore, it is crucial to wear your retainer exactly as your orthodontist recommends.

Post-treatment shifting isn’t the only thing you need to worry about, though. As we age, our smiles naturally begin to shift some. This is for a variety of reasons – the general wear and tear we put on our mouths each day, periodontal disease, loss of bone density, etc. While we can’t prevent these natural changes in our mouths, we can prevent our beautiful smile from drifting away by continuing to wear a retainer.

For most braces or clear aligner wearers, your orthodontist will recommend around the clock retainer wear for the period he or she believes will be needed to ensure your mouth gets used to the new location of your teeth and your smile has somewhat solidified. This could be for as long as two years. After that, it will probably be recommended that you continue to wear your retainer overnight indefinitely. Some orthodontists will recommend nightly wear, while others may suggest wearing only a few nights a week.

No matter what your orthodontist recommends, it is important that you follow those recommendations in order to ensure the smile you worked so hard for remains as straight and functional as the day your braces were removed.

Your orthodontist will probably also recommend follow-up visits during the time you are wearing your retainer to ensure the retainer is doing its job properly and your teeth are not shifting. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings to ensure your smile stays healthy.

If you have questions about retainer wear or the care of your retainer, call Riverdale Family Orthodontics at 718-884-7700.

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