How Long should I wear my Retainers?

Posted by Petrol Orthodontics on Friday, March 18 2011
Clear retainer

Like braces, retainers are considered to be a rite of passage for many teenagers- worn for a short time as the final step in the orthodontic process. These days, orthodontists are encouraging their patients to hang onto their retainers and wear them a bit longer - for a lifetime, even. As the science of orthodontics continues to evolve, research on the aging process as it relates to teeth alignment has shown that teeth can shift- even after braces.
In the past, most orthodontists would recommend that patients wear their retainers for up to two years before weaning them off the appliance. Most orthodontists now recommend that retainers need to be worn nightly for the rest of their patient's lives.


As an orthodontist, I understand that this may not be something that patients want to hear. But to maintain the perfect alignment we have achieved once the braces are removed, wearing a retainer from now on will be a necessity for many patients. In addition to shifting teeth as part of the natural process of aging, teeth sometimes have a tendency to shift back into their former positions after the braces are removed, although they typically do not return to the exact position they were in prior to wearing braces.


It is important to note that a retainer typically does not shift teeth back into place. It simply maintains straight teeth. Routine retainer wear can keep shifting to a minimum.
The longer a patient leaves the retainer out, the more likely it is that their teeth will shift. The tightness some patients feel when putting in a retainer after they have not worn it for several days is evidence that the teeth have shifted slightly. Teeth may become sore once a retainer is worn after several days of nonuse, but wearing it on a regular basis will eliminate the discomfort. Patients should plan to wear their retainers every night once the braces are removed.
Once patients have their braces off, they usually are not eager to be seen with metal in their mouths, so we provide invisible clear retainers that are worn while you sleep. It gets the job done and preserves your Petrol Perfect smile.