Dental Tips Blog


How Long Will I Have to Wear a Retainer?

Posted in Orthodontics

You feel you’ve suffered with braces long enough. Why test your patience even longer with a retainer?

Orthodontic retainers are crucial to maintaining a perfectly straight smile. Your teeth aren’t naturally inclined to stay in their new positions. Because bone is softer than tooth roots, the teeth will shift through it close to where they were before. The risk of relapse is especially high during the first month after your braces come off.

How much time does it take for your teeth to stabilize?

Well, that depends. Every case is different. Your teeth may take longer to settle firmly in place if your case was particularly complex. If you want a ballpark estimate, you need to check with your orthodontist.

Here are some general guidelines when it comes to orthodontic retainers:

  • Some people only need to wear them full-time for a week, others for a year
  • You may only need to wear the retainer at night
  • Your orthodontist may recommend wearing the retainer for as long as you had braces
  • Most people should wear the retainer for a full year after braces are removed
  • A lot of folks choose to wear their retainers for life, just to ensure a perfect smile forever.

Wearing braces took a lot of time, sacrifice, expense, and discomfort. The effort certainly paid off and you don’t want to go through that experience again! Keep the beautiful results you worked hard to achieve by using your retainer as often and as long as your orthodontist recommends.

Want to learn more about how to get the most out of your retainer? Find out more at your next orthodontic checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
The Newport Beach Dentist
1901 Westcliff Drive #6
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 646-2481


Fixed Retainers After Braces

Posted in Braces

After investing in the time and treatment process of tooth realignment through orthodontic therapy, you’ll want to take extra care to maintain the results. Retainers play a key role in securing the position of the teeth, preventing them from relapse after the braces are taken off. There are removable retainers and fixed retainers, the latter that are retainers that are permanently bonded into place on the tongue side of front teeth.

Fixed retainers are typically placed on the lower anterior teeth, bonded on either end to the canine (eye) teeth, or onto each of the front teeth. It is made of a smooth, thin wire that uses the teeth against one another to prevent them from shifting out of place. Sometimes a fixed retainer may also be placed behind the upper two front teeth, especially when a large space was present between the teeth before treatment began, as those areas can relapse easily.

It’s important to leave these retainers in place as long as possible. Sometimes several years later, they may come loose or come off. If that happens, the retainer should be brought to the orthodontist or dental office as early as possible to have it bonded back into place. Even a month or two without the retainer can allow the teeth to shift out of place so that the retainer no longer fits.

Caring for your retainer is important to prevent tartar buildup that contributes to gum disease. Brush around the retainer twice a day and use a floss threader to weave floss underneath the appliance so that thorough plaque removal is achieved. Many people notice that tartar builds up quicker in these areas, so routine dental cleanings are important.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC

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