Posted on September 15, 2021
After braces treatment it’s easy for patients to overlook the importance of wearing their retainers. After all, once your teeth are straight, they’ll be straight for life, right? Unfortunately, retainers are much more important than many people believe. In fact, according to Chapman Orthodontics, over 25% of patients will even need to wear braces again because they forwent wearing their retainers as instructed, causing an orthodontic relapse.
Retainers have one purpose, to keep your teeth from shifting back after your braces treatment. However, choosing not to wear them can cause issues. While one or two days without it is fine, after too long, your teeth will begin to shift again. A lot of patients start off by wearing their retainers diligently after treatment, although after a couple of years this can wane until they no longer wear them anymore. This can cause shifting that may not be immediately noticeable, but after a couple of years, you can definitely start to notice a difference.
Having to wear a retainer for the rest of your life sounds daunting, and it can be a major turn-off for a lot of patients. However, this doesn’t mean you need to wear them all day every day. For the first six months after your braces treatment, many orthodontists recommend that you wear your retainer as much as possible. After your teeth have stabilized and adjusted to their new positions, you can start to only wear them at night for the next one to three years. While you most likely won’t be wearing one forever, it is recommended that you try to continue wearing your retainer to bed at least a couple of days every week indefinitely to ensure that your teeth don’t have any major shifts in their position which could require you to need braces again.
If you haven’t worn your retainer for a while and now want to get back into the habit, you may find that it doesn’t fit as it should anymore. If this is the case, it’s important not to try and force it, as this can damage your teeth. Instead, talk to your orthodontist about getting fitted for a new retainer so that you can prevent your teeth from shifting further and preserve your straight smile for as long as possible.