How Long Do I Need to Wear A Retainer?

timonium, maryland orthodontistAfter braces have been removed or you’re finished with Invisalign, you might think that you are free and clear! You’ve just dealt with months or years of having something in your mouth, so when it comes out, that’s it, right? Well, not quite. Patients of Dr. Mohammad Izadi, a Timonium MD orthodontist, are recommended to wear their retainers for a year to prevent orthodontic relapse after treatment has completed.

How Does A Retainer Work?

A retainer keeps the teeth from shifting back to the position they were in before you started orthodontic treatment. Most patients receive removable retainers, but there are permanent retainer options that will keep the teeth in place. The best option for you depends on your unique situation.

Teeth can shift in the mouth in response to the pressure put upon them when biting, chewing, or teeth grinding. While your braces did most of the hard work repositioning the teeth, the retainer is necessary to prevent the teeth from returning to the same position. Think of it as a way of holding the teeth in place rather than doing the work to shape the teeth into the desired position.

How Long Do I Need to Wear My Retainer After Braces or Invisalign?

Dr. Izadi recommends patients wear their retainer for at least 1 year after braces or Invisalign have completed. The exact length of time will depend on your needs. If the retainer is used as part of two-phase treatment, the retainer time may vary. In general, however, it is necessary to keep wearing the retainer for 1 year to prevent teeth shifting.

How Do I Care For My Retainer?

Any time a retainer is used it should always be treated delicately and cleaned regularly for optimal oral health. They are fragile and expensive to replace. Wearing your retainer is as important as cleaning your retainer. Keeping your retainer clean can help reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease, both potentially severe oral health concerns.

A common complaint with retainer use is a bad taste or smell. Fortunately, keeping your retainer clean is simple. Before putting it back in your mouth after brushing your teeth, brush the retainer to keep it clear of plaque, which is the source of the bad smell. You should also soak the retainer regularly in a solution like Efferdent or Polident to neutralize odors. To protect your retainer, keep it in its case when not in use, such as while you are eating, to prevent damage or loss.

Timonium, MD Orthodontist

Dr. Mo is passionate about making sure you enjoy your beautiful smile for a lifetime. While you may not want to wear your retainer, it will help prevent you from orthodontic relapse and needing braces again. Schedule a consultation with us online or call our office at (410) 919-9806 to learn more about the best orthodontic treatment for you.