stop wearing retainers

When Can I Stop Wearing Retainers?

So, you’re finally finished with your braces treatment and you have recieved your new retainer. You might find yourself asking yourself, “when can I stop wearing retainers?” Just like with any medical or dental question, it’s best to listen to your doctor.

For most orthodontic treatment, a majority of orthodontists recommend wearing a retainer for at least 10 years after you get your braces off or finish your aligner treatment. It’s perfectly normal for many people to wear their retainers for the rest of their lives.

Retainer Use Right After Treatment

During the first three months after braces or aligners, you should wear your retainers all of the time. After that point, you can likely transition to wearing them only at night. How long each day or week a retainer has to be worn varies from patient to patient depending on their dental needs. Some patients may still need to wear it all day, with the exception of meals, while others can switch to wearing it at night or just a few days a week.

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Wearing Retainers

It’s important to maintain your retainer usage because, like every other part of your body, your teeth are always moving and changing, especially as you age. This is because the ligaments that attach the teeth to the jawbone break down as you get older so they aren’t as effective at holding teeth in place. Teeth tend to move forward in the mouth and the bottom set of teeth often narrows with age. This causes teeth crowding.

Any crowding may cause functional and cosmetic problems. Crowded teeth may make it difficult to brush and floss effectively, and patients may be more likely to experience plaque build-up. That’s why it is so important to prevent teeth crowding and shifting by wearing your retainer as recommended by your orthodontist. 

Getting New Retainers

Since you’re expected to be lifelong friends with your retainer, make sure you book regular appointments to receive new retainers at the recommendation of your doctor. Orthodontists often recommend ordering new retainers more frequently if a patient has a tendency to grind their teeth at night, which creates more wear on the retainer than usual. 

It’s also important that you are regularly cleaning your retainers and your retainer case to avoid bacteria buildup.

At Bruno Orthodontics, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your retainer, and we can create a replacement retainer for you when needed. If you lose or damage your retainer, contact us as soon as possible so we can make sure you keep your smile healthy.

Bruno Orthodontics offers Invisalign, braces, and other orthodontic treatment for adults, teens, and children in an award-winning office in Chevy Chase. Dr. Jill Bruno is a Diamond+ Provider for Invisalign, putting her in the top 1% of Invisalign doctors. Convenient online scheduling and virtual consults are available for new and current patients.