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How Long do I have to Wear my Retainers?


If you are reading this post, congratulations! That’s because you probably have just finished your brace treatment, and your orthodontist most likely recommended that you wear retainers. And, you are probably wondering why you still have to wear retainers when your teeth are already aligned. In this article, we will be discussing why and how long you have to wear your retainers.

Why do I Need to Wear Retainers?

You smile perfectly now, and now your dentist tells you that you still have to wear a piece of wire over your teeth. After years of wearing braces, you are so excited to get rid of those metal brackets. You are all set to smile confidently, but your teeth aren’t as prepared as you are. Why? Your teeth have just recently changed positions, and they’re not used to that position. You have to give your teeth time to adjust, and that’s why you need retainers. Think of it as a training tool for your teeth to stay in that position. 

What happens when I Don’t Wear Retainers?

There is a possibility that your teeth will move back to their original position. This is because teeth are always moving. This phenomenon is called mesial drift which is defined as the natural migration of the teeth. With a set of retainers, you are preventing this from happening. Although most orthodontists will require that you wear your retainers for a lifetime, what’s nice about this is that you don’t have to wear them all of the time.

Stages of Wearing a Retainer

After the dental braces have been removed, the orthodontist will be given a set of retainers that are to be removed when eating and brushing. Here is the most common schedule that works well with most people who wore retainers:


First 3 to 6 Months

For the first months of wearing the retainers, they must be worn for not less than 22 hours a day. You must only remove it when you eat, floss, or brush. Other than that, it is advised not to remove it so that your teeth won’t move to a different position.

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After 2 Years

After two years of continuous wearing, your orthodontist may recommend that you wear your retainers only while you sleep. This is because your teeth have already been adjusting to the form of the retainer.

After 3 Years

After another year or two, you will be able to wear your retainers less. That means that you can wear it every other night, wherein skipping two to three days would not do any harm to the alignment of your teeth.

For the Rest of Your Life

Depending on the situation, most orthodontists will require you to wear your retainers for a lifetime. Although it’s not a big deal to wear it every other night, just make sure to consistently wear it at least twice a week to prevent your teeth to go back to their original position.


When should I change my retainers?

Since retainers are supposed to be worn for the rest of your life, it is very unhygienic to keep one for a lifetime. That’s why it is best to change your retainers once you see the following:

Your retainers have already cracked.

Retainers are made out of different materials. Some are made of wire, some are made of plastic, and some are made from a combination of these materials. If it’s made out of plastic and you see cracks, it’s time for you to have your retainers replaced. Over time, these cracks will become bigger, and the retainers won’t be able to keep your teeth in the same place.

Your retainers feel loose.

Through time, your retainers will wear down and will feel loose. If it becomes wide and unfitting, your retainers are useless. Replace them so that your teeth won’t go back to their original position.


Your retainers don’t fit anymore.

Retainers sometimes lose their original shape. This is caused by external factors such as cleaning them in extremely hot water or putting it inside a dishwasher. If you feel like the shape of your retainer has changed, consult your orthodontist.


Your retainers have calcium buildup.

Over time, calcium buildup will begin to appear on your retainers. If they are already filled with these and it makes you not want to wear your retainers anymore, you may want to replace your retainers with new ones.

Consult an Orthodontist to Know More About Retainers

Wearing retainers is an essential aspect of orthodontic treatment, and consulting an orthodontist is necessary to know more about retainers. Kumra Orthodontics, led by experienced orthodontist in Washington, D.C., provides personalized treatment plans and excellent orthodontic care to patients of all ages. With a commitment to using the latest technology and techniques, Kumra Orthodontics ensures that patients receive the best possible results. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Kumra Orthodontics to learn more about how retainers can help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.

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