Braces not only improve the look of your smile, but they also benefit your oral health and reduce the risk of long-term problems. Depending on the extent of your dental issues, braces are typically worn for about 24 months.
To maintain your straight smile and protect your investment, your dentist will recommend that you wear a retainer when the braces are removed. The length of time retainers must be worn depends on the severity of your orthodontic issues.
As soon as your braces are removed, your teeth start to move as they haven’t yet settled into the soft tissue that supports them. If a retainer isn’t worn immediately after braces are removed, the teeth may revert to their previous position, undoing all your hard work.
Types of Retainers
There are two primary retainer options: fixed and removable.
1. Removable Retainers
Removable retainers are worn day and night and should only be removed for eating and brushing your teeth. A dentist prescribes removable retainers for a specific period, on average between 4-12 months. After regular checkups, your dentist determines when this is no longer necessary.
If no movement is detected, your dentist may recommend that you only wear your retainer while sleeping instead of all day. Some adolescents may need to only wear the retainer at night for a few months. However, adults may need to wear the retainer at night for the rest of their life as teeth continue to shift as we age.
2. Fixed Retainers
Fixed retainers are bonded to teeth after your braces are removed. They are usually cemented along the back of the teeth. Fixed retainers are highly effective because they cannot be removed or misplaced, and some people wear them for decades.
Fixed retainers are usually recommended for people who have had multiple malocclusions and misalignments corrected.
The main drawback with this type of retainer is that it is more challenging to keep clean. Food and plaque may get trapped between the retainer and your teeth, contributing to periodontal disease or oral health problems if you don’t have regular hygiene cleanings performed by a dental professional.
Determining How Long to Wear a Retainer
The length of time you are prescribed to wear a retainer after braces are removed depends on your individual case. Most dentists recommend that you wear your retainer daily for between 12-24 months. However, you may be instructed to wear the retainer three nights per week for the rest of your life to minimize the likelihood of your teeth shifting.
Improve Your Smile at Countryside Dental Group
At Countryside Dental Group, we offer fast and effective orthodontic treatment, including EZ-Align® and Six Month Smiles®, to help you achieve a winning smile. To keep your smile beautiful and straight, we recommend wearing retainers for several months. We will assess your teeth following your orthodontic treatment and provide you with an aftercare plan detailing how long you need to wear your retainers.
For a smile you’re proud to share, schedule an appointment with Countryside Dental Group today.