After you have had orthodontic treatment, the last thing that you want is for your teeth to revert to their previous state. This would ultimately mean a great deal of money and effort wasted. Wearing your retainer is an important component of keeping your teeth in good condition. It is important to understand how long your retainer will need to be worn in order to provide this protection for your teeth. Always follow the instructions of your orthodontist in order to ensure that your smile stays in the best possible condition.
Important to be Proactive
It is important to take a proactive approach to your orthodontic maintenance after you have finished your treatment. In general, it is easier to wear a retainer on a regular basis than it is to go through the orthodontic process again. Proactivity can be extremely beneficial in maintaining a beautiful, pristine smile.
Teeth are Always Moving
Unfortunately, the teeth are always moving. Though this movement is slight, it is still there. This is a process that is referred to as mesial drift. In many cases, your teeth seem to have a “memory” of their previous location and will tend to shift back to that state. Due to this, it is likely that you will have to wear a retainer indefinitely to protect your teeth. The amount of time in which you have to wear your retainer, however, will depend primarily on the stage in which you are at following your orthodontic treatment.
The First 3 to 6 Months
During the first 3 to 6 months after the completion of your orthodontic treatment, your teeth will be most vulnerable to quickly shifting back to their original location. Due to this, it will be extremely important to ensure that you wear a retainer for as long as possible over time. In most situations, you will need to wear your retainer for 22 hours a day following the removal of your braces. The retainer should really only be removed to enable you to eat and care for your teeth.
The First Two Years
After the first 6 months following your orthodontic treatment, the gum tissue tends to solidify more firmly, which will reduce the speed in which the teeth will shift. From this time to the two years following your treatment, you will need to wear your retainer nightly.
Three Years Plus
More than three years after your orthodontic treatment, you will still be required to wear your retainer as often as possible. Occasionally missing a night here and there won’t result in disaster, but it is still important to wear it regularly. Many people start to wear their retainer every other night at this point.
Follow Orthodontic Instructions
Though these are generalities regarding wearing a retainer, they are not set recommendations. Everyone’s smile is different and the amount of time in which you will have to wear your retainer will depend on many factors. It is important to listen to your orthodontist, who is aware of each of these various factors. Follow your orthodontic instructions to ensure that you are able to provide the right protection for your smile.
Types of Retainers
It is important to note that there are multiple types of retainers that may also impact this. With removable retainers, it will be important to keep in mind how much time you spend wearing them. Permanent retainers, however, are adhered to the surface of the teeth. Though this will ensure you are always wearing them for the appropriate amount of time, it may make it more difficult to appropriately care for your teeth. Your orthodontist will be able to guide you through the right kind of retainer to meet your needs.
Wearing a retainer will help to keep your teeth straight and pristine after you have completed your orthodontic treatment. Though this may require nightly wear, it is a far better alternative to having your orthodontic work reversed due to neglect. For more information about the importance of wearing a retainer, as well as the amount of time in which you should be wearing your retainer, contact our experienced team at Bailey Orthodontics today!