Orthodontic treatment is a long process, but it produces outstanding results. Most people think of the braces or Invisalign as the treatment, but the retainers afterwards are an important part of the process. After an orthodontic procedure, many people wonder exactly how long they will need to wear a retainer afterward. The answer can vary, but it’s extremely important that the instructions regarding retainers are followed.
The reason a retainer is needed is because our teeth move throughout our lives. Without support, teeth have a tendency to move back to their previous problematic position. With the added support of a retainer, you can cement (figuratively, of course!) all the hard work done with treatment to ensure that it wasn’t a waste of time and money.
There are two kinds of retainers – bonded retainers, which aren’t removable, and stay in for a long period of time, and removable retainers, the more common and conventional retainer.
Bonded retainers are meant to stay in for a much longer period of time, as long as 20 years. These retainers have several benefits. For one, there is obviously no chance of forgetting to wear your retainer when it’s bonded to your teeth, so the chance of slipping back to the previous position is essentially nil. In addition, because they are professionally applied, they don’t need to be adjusted, and many users often forget they have them at all.
For removable retainers, the use of this tends to go in phases. The first phase is where your orthodontist will recommend that you wear your removable retainer full time, to provide maximum support for your post-braces teeth. The duration of this phase can vary from case to case, but it tends to be for between four and six months. After that, your orthodontist will likely transition you to a recommendation of wearing the retainer only at night, during sleep. This will generally go for between six to eight months. All told, with removable retainers, you should expect to wear it for about a year after your braces have been removed.
With that in mind, it is important to understand that each and every case is different and following the instructions given to you by your orthodontist is critically important to getting maximum success out of your treatment. The retainer is essential for long term success, and it should be treated as a vital part of the orthodontics process. Contact us today to learn more!