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How Long Does a Retainer Last?


Congratulations on achieving your bright, new smile. Now you can move on to the retention phase of treatment. After you stop wearing braces or aligners, wearing a retainer preserves your new smile. 

People often ask us: how long do retainers last? You can maintain its longevity by properly caring for your retainer. 

Whether you receive a removable retainer or a permanent retainer, you will enjoy results that last a lifetime. Learn more about the retention process during your free exam

How Long Do Removable Retainers last? 

Removable retainers are sleek and compact appliances that are form-fitted to fit your unique bite profile. The lightweight design of removable retainers provides an unprecedented level of comfort and freedom. Plus, removable retainers help with just about every patient’s needs. 

When properly cared for, removable retainers can last many years. We offer overlay, Hawley, and Vivera retainer options. 

Immediately following your braces or aligner treatment, you will need to wear a retainer for 20-22 hours. However, you may eventually transition into only needing nightly retainer wear. 

While wearing your removable retainer, be mindful of any chips, cracks, fit problems, or discoloration. After a year of wear, you will need to schedule a check-in. Because your teeth are constantly drifting, these retainers may need to be replaced more frequently than you realize.

More About Removable Retainers

How Long Do Permanent Retainers Last? 

Permanent retainers work around the clock and are bonded in place. However, permanent retainers only make sense for a limited number of patients. We generally don’t recommend permanent retainers unless they are absolutely necessary. 

Without regular cleaning, permanent retainers may cause plaque and food particles to build up. Often patients with permanent retainers may also have to wear removable retainers to help keep their teeth in their proper position. 

Patients with permanent retainers can expect to wear their retainer for at least two years. At the end of your treatment, you may choose to keep it in place indefinitely. The retainers’ bonding agent wears out over time. 

If your retainer falls out or comes loose, then it is crucial that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Under no circumstances should you try to fix a broken retainer on your own. 

More About Permanent Retainers

Extending the Life of Your Retainer

Getting the most out of any retainer experience requires a modest amount of cleaning and care.

To clean your temporary retainer, you need cool water and a gentle toothbrush. Scrub your retainer as regularly as you brush your teeth. Be careful because water that is too hot may warp or damage the retainer. 

Cleaning your permanent retainer is extremely important. Because they are constantly in your mouth, the wires holding your teeth in place attract more plaque and other germs. 

Be sure to run your floss beneath the retainer wires, removing any excess food or other particles trapped beneath their surface. Flossing and brushing your teeth and retainers twice a day safeguards your smile’s longevity. 

Learn More About Retainer Wear  

If you’re still curious about how long retainers should last or if you have any questions about your new retainer we are available over the phone at 425-335-5700 or by text at 844-261-3411. We have three office locations in Kirkland, Lake Stevens, and Snohomish and are always ready to answer questions. 

If you experience any problems with your retainer, whether it be lost, broken, or damaged, our team promises to do everything we can to keep your smile in place. We provide enduring smiles and take pride in helping patients enjoy the smile they have always wanted. Schedule a free exam today!

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