How Long Do You Need to Wear a Retainer After Braces?

June 19, 2023

For those who have invested in braces, whether they are Invisalign braces or traditional metal brackets, wearing a retainer after the treatment period is crucial to preventing the teeth from shifting out of position. Of course, after wearing your braces for years, we know you will be eager to show off your new smile without anything getting in the way. If you have recently finished your orthodontic treatment with braces or you soon will, you’re probably wondering how long you will have to wear a retainer. Read on to find out more about post-braces treatment from the friendly team at American Dental!

How Do Retainers Work?

As you receive treatment with braces, your gums, bones, and the tissues that keep your teeth in place go through a great deal of change. That change can take multiple years to achieve, and once your braces are off, there’s nothing preventing your teeth from shifting back to their previous positions. That’s where a retainer comes in. A retainer holds your teeth in their new position while your gums and bone tissue adjust. Over time, the tissues holding your teeth in place will firm up, meaning you can stop wearing a retainer.

Of course, every patient is different. Depending on the conditions your braces were correcting, it may take varying amounts of time with a retainer to keep them in place. If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth can easily start to shift, resulting in spacing issues, crowding, bite issues, and more. In most cases, a retainer will need to be worn for about two years after treatment. After this time, you can transition to wearing a retainer only at night for as long as your orthodontist recommends. Eventually, you may be able to wear your retainer only a few nights a week, or even alternate between a retainer and a dental night guard that will prevent you from damaging your teeth at night by grinding them.

Types of Retainers

If the idea of wearing a retainer for two or more years after orthodontic treatment doesn’t appeal to you, you should know that retainers have come a long way in the past few decades. At one time, a permanently affixed metal wire was used to keep teeth in place. In the late 20th century, a removable appliance with a metal wire became the norm. These days, most patients opt for clear retainers. These retainers are made of clear plastic and look very similar to Invisalign braces. That means that not only do they keep teeth in place with less discomfort, but they’re also nearly invisible. With a clear retainer, you won’t have to worry about a metal wire covering up your perfect new smile!

Orthodontic Treatment in Chicago

At American Dental, we are known as one of the top affordable dentists in the Chicago area, and we also provide orthodontic services. Call us at (773) 284-1645 to schedule an appointment at any one of our 8 Chicagoland locations. We can answer any questions you may have about braces, retainers, cosmetic dentistry, or any other topic related to dental treatment. Call or schedule an appointment online if you have questions about using baking soda for teeth cleaning after braces, or if you need an orthodontist in Palos Heights or anywhere else in the area.

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