If you've recently completed a teeth straightening treatment with braces or clear aligners, the first two weeks are critical. During this time, you may need to wear your retainer for up to 22 hours a day, only taking it off to eat and brush your teeth. Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions based on your individual needs. Some people may be required to wear their retainer all day, every day for four months, while others may need to wear it for 12 months.
Retainers are custom-made appliances designed to keep your teeth in their new positions after braces have been removed. They are made of plastic and metal wires that fit snugly over the palate or the back of the teeth. Retainers help keep teeth in place and prevent them from shifting due to natural changes in a person's bite over time. The amount of time you need to wear retainers after braces will vary from person to person.
Generally, retainers should be worn full-time for at least two years after the braces are removed. After this initial period, you may switch to wearing retainers only at night or as directed by your orthodontist.
Invisible braces, or transparent aligners, are a great option for people looking to straighten their teeth without traditional metal braces. A dental retainer is a custom-made appliance that keeps your teeth in their new positions after straightening them.
Typically, patients who need a fixed retainer will have one placed on their lower teeth and a removable retainer on their upper teeth. If you stop wearing the retainer for a few weeks or months, your teeth may move and the retainer may no longer fit properly.