I just finished orthodontic treatment for the 2nd time in my life. I am now 47 years old. I knew I would have to wear a retainer, but my dentist told me I had to wear one all day, every day, for a year. Is this really necessary, or can I wear them overnight? Thanks, Kevin
Kevin – Thank you for contacting Dental Loft.
After you finish orthodontic treatment, your teeth can still shift toward their original position. A retainer ensures that your teeth stay in the correct place.
How Long Do You Need to Wear a Retainer?
You must wear a retainer to keep your teeth straight for the rest of your life. How frequently and long you wear the retainer daily depends on your case. Your dentist has considered your case and determined that you must wear it 24 hours daily for the first year. After the first year, you may need to wear the retainer less.
In some cases, after the first 18 months, the teeth are less inclined to make dramatic shifts, but you still need a retainer. Otherwise, your teeth can gradually shift without you noticing it. Too much shifting can create a need to repeat some orthodontic treatment.
Wearing a retainer, as recommended, protects your investment in your smile and ensures that it stays aligned this time. Today’s aligners, such as Invisalign, are comfortable to wear during the day or overnight.
Speak with your dentist about options for a comfortable retainer.
Dr. Claudia Vargas, a Dallas, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.