How Long Should You Wear Your Retainer?

Once you’ve completed orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer. Initially, you are likely to be advised to wear your retainer most of the time.  As time passes, your orthodontist may notify you that you only need to wear it while you sleep. For the best result, most patients should plan to wear their retainer at least a few nights a week, indefinitely. Because there is no one-size-fits-all orthodontic treatment plan, it is best to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for how long and how frequently you should wear your retainer. 

What Purpose Does a Retainer Serve?

Retainers are custom-made orthodontic devices that are either removable or fixed. Fixed retainers are bonded to the backsides of the teeth, so they are invisible. Removable retainers may be made of clear plastic or may be made of plastic or acrylic with a wire attached. As you may surmise, the job of a retainer is to retain the teeth in their newly aligned position. 

Specifically, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, retainers serve two primary functions:

Retainers may also help complete your orthodontic treatment. If small gaps between teeth remain after completing treatment with braces, a retainer can be fitted to make the final adjustments.

Unique Benefits of Retainers

Retainers, when worn as prescribed by your orthodontist can have surprising benefits including:




What Happens if You Don’t Wear Your Retainer?

Failing to wear your retainer as prescribed can cause relapse, which is the shifting of teeth back into their former positions. After completing your orthodontic treatment, the last thing you want is for your teeth or bite to become misaligned again.

If you continually skip wearing your retainer, eventually your retainer will no longer fit. To correct the problem with your alignment, you may need to repeat orthodontic treatment.

Book an Appointment for Orthodontic Treatment in Las Cruces

As a top-rated Las Cruces orthodontic practice, Legacy Smiles provides complete orthodontic care for kids, teens, and adults. To book a consultation, call 575-522-1500. If you prefer, you may also send us a message and our friendly team will contact you to book your appointment.