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Orthodontic Retainers: How Long Should You Wear Them?

Orthodontic RetainersOnce your braces have been removed, you will need to switch to wearing orthodontic retainers to retain the new positioning of your teeth. It will be specifically designed to prevent reversion of your teeth to their old positions, before braces. Depending on your particular condition, your orthodontist will either prescribe a fixed wire retainer that will be bonded to your front teeth’s back portion or a removable retainer.

How Long Does It Take

As it takes significant time for surrounding tissues and bone to reorganize, you must wear retainers until you stabilize your bite. Additionally, know that the first month following removal of your braces has a high risk of relapse. Relapse simply means that your teeth could take as much as one or several years to stabilize following orthodontic treatment. In the event that you had significant teeth gaps prior to wearing braces, you’ll most likely have to wear your retainers for several years.

In most cases, retainers must be worn the same amount of time you wore your braces since in the event that your teeth revert to their original positions, you’ll need to wear braces all over again. Depending of your specific circumstances, you might be required to wear your retainers 24 hours daily for six months and during nighttime for several years after, or 24 hours daily for only one week and every night thereafter. If you require fixed retainers, you’ll most probably wear them for five full years. Some adult patients even opt to wear their retainers every night their whole life to ensure perfect alignment of their teeth.

How You Should Care for Your Retainers

Removable orthodontic retainers must be removed while eating, brushing your teeth, or playing contact sports. Clean your fixed retainers similar to how you clean your braces while brushing your teeth. Removable retainers should be taken out first and cleaned with your toothbrush and some toothpaste and then proceed to clean your teeth. Always remember that your retainers will be safest when worn so if you’re not wearing them, keep them in a designated box.

All in all, the amount of time you’ll need to wear retainers will depend on the specific condition of your bite after wearing braces and the type of retainers you’re required to wear. It is extremely essential to remember that removing them against your orthodontist’s instructions is not advised since your teeth may relapse and you’ll have to go back to wearing braces all over again — you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

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