DO I REALLY HAVE TO WEAR THEM FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?
Glad you asked!
This question is asked quite frequently, so we thought we would answer.
Here at Case Orthodontics, when you are issued your initial set of retainers we advise all patients to wear their retainer’s full time. Full time means at least 20 hours a day for three months. After your teeth have had time to stabilize, we advise to wear your retainers at night. We suggest at least a year of continuous retainer wear after that, wearing the retainer three to five times a week for life.
No matter what treatment option you choose to go with, you will always need retainers.
It is important to wear your retainer because as your body grows, your teeth do some shifting. The purpose of the retainer is to control the shifting which occurs naturally. Without consistent wear for the rest of your life, you risk the chance of your teeth returning to their pre-orthodontic position. Teeth are not static. They are active, always moving and they will continue to move and shift even though you’ve had braces or Invisalign. If your teeth ever hurt when putting your retainers in or at any time when you are wearing them, that is your first caution sign that your teeth are trying to move and you should wear them more frequently. Adult patients usually sleep with their retainers on for the rest of their lives, if they want their teeth in perfect alignment.
Your initial retainers can last anywhere from two to ten years, depending on how well you take care of them. If your retainer has been broken or lost make sure to contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to replace!
Always remember, going a period of time without wearing your retainers can result in teeth shifting. Retainers may not seem like fun, but hey! It’s better than braces, right?