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Retainers: The Real Deal

How long should I wear retainers?

Not that many years ago, the recommendation for wearing retainers was to wear them for a few months after orthodontic treatment and that was about it. Well, we know a lot more now than even 10 or 20 years ago and the new recommendation is to anticipate Retainer for Life.

We all know that skin sags down and wrinkles form over time. Much in the same way, teeth have a tendency to shift forward and inwards over the course of a person’s lifetime. The good news is there is a way to prevent this natural biological progression. If you would like to maintain your orthodontic results, the best way to do so is to wear retainers at night while sleeping. The gold standard is every night- this will ensure the best maintenance.

The first year after orthodontic treatment is the most critical year since the periodontal ligaments that hold the teeth into the gums and bone are stabilizing the teeth into their new positions. During this time it is very important to be consistent with retainer wear. Over time most patients can go as few as 3 nights per week and still have good maintenance, but it depends upon the person.

While this may sound like a lot of ‘work’, most of our patients report that it becomes easy and second nature wearing retainers at night. I can personally attest to that- I too wear my retainers every night!

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