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How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer After Braces?

After waiting so patiently, it’s finally time to get your braces off! While we know you’ve been looking forward to removing your braces or Invisalign, it’s crucial to wear a retainer after your orthodontic treatment. 

Some patients are surprised to find out that orthodontic treatment doesn’t end the moment when their braces come off. Wearing your retainer as directed keeps your smile in its new position for life. After the initial treatment is over, we often get questions like, “how long do you need to wear a retainer?”

The short answer is, it depends! How long you have to wear a retainer is dictated by your personal treatment plan and alignment needs. 

  • Right after you get your braces off, you will have to wear your retainer around the clock.
  • Once you’ve been wearing your retainer full-time for at least three months, you may be able to transition to wearing it only at night. This timeframe is decided on a case-by-case basis, and your orthodontist will let you know when it’s time to reduce the frequency of your retainer wear.
  • Your retention period lasts for life, so make sure that you continue to wear your retainer in the future!
  • After a year of retainer wear, you will need to come in for a one-time retainer check. 

If you have questions about smile retention, our Superstars are here to help. Schedule a free appointment with us today!

What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Retainer?

Your retainer is designed to safeguard your newly aligned smile. Without wearing your retainer regularly, you risk your teeth drifting out of position and reversing all your hard work.

A retainer holds your teeth in the correct position while the surrounding tissue and structures get used to their new alignment. For about the first three months of your treatment, you will need to wear your retainer around the clock (although your initial retention period may be different depending on your alignment needs). This step is crucial in helping you achieve a long-lasting smile. 

Because of a natural process called mesial drift, your teeth tend to move and change over time. This is why your smile is at risk of relapse after getting orthodontic treatment. 

Different Types of Retainers

Lund Orthodontics offers a few different kinds of retainers. We will recommend a retainer to fit your post-treatment needs.

Removable retainers can be easily taken out to eat, drink, or clean your teeth. We offer Hawley, Vivera, and overlay retainers. When cared for properly, removable retainers can last two to three years.

Permanent retainers are made of a wire component that is bonded behind your bottom teeth. Lund Orthodontics doesn’t usually recommend this type of retainer. Although rare, certain cases may require bonded retainers. 

Get Five-Star Orthodontic Treatment in Kirkland, Snohomish, Lake Stevens

After you get your braces off, it’s time to protect your braces investment and prevent possible smile relapse. Wearing your retainer as directed by an orthodontist will safeguard your results for life. 

Our Superstars will give you all the information you need to keep your smile radiant. If you have any questions about smile retention, contact us today. We can’t wait to help you maintain a lifelong smile!

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