“Do I have to wear my retainer” is a question that we hear often from patients. The short answer is yes. If you get braces or Invisalign®, you’re going to have to wear a retainer afterward. The good news is that you’ll effectively be done with your orthodontic treatment—congratulations! While wearing a retainer doesn’t sound too appealing, rest assured that it will be worth it in the end!
What Is A Retainer?
Simply put, retainers do exactly what their name suggests. They retain or hold your teeth in the position they were in when your braces came off, or when you stopped using Invisalign® aligners. Even though the position of your teeth has been corrected, they won’t stay this way on their own. There are several different types of retainers, but the main three types are invisible retainers, bonded “permanent” retainers, and more traditional Hawley retainers. Which one you use will be up to Dr. Montano & Dr. Cardall who will decide which will work best for you.
As the name suggests, invisible retainers are made of clear plastic and are molded to the shape of your teeth. These retainers are both discreet and very easy to wear all the time.
Bonded “Permanent” Retainers
These retainers are sometimes called permanent retainers because you don’t take them in and out like you do with the two other main types of retainers. Using a strong adhesive, these retainers are bonded to the tongue side of your teeth. This type of retainer is also very discreet due to its location.
“Traditional” Hawley Retainers
The more traditional Hawley retainer is made of rigid acrylic and metal wires. The wires wrap around your teeth and hold them in place while the acrylic rests either on the roof of your mouth or under your tongue. This type of retainer is removable.
How Long Do I Have To Wear My Retainer?
We tell our patients that you only have to wear your retainers for as long as you want to keep your teeth perfectly straight! That doesn’t mean you have to wear your retainers all day every day forever, though! Usually, wearing your retainers at night (or while you’re sleeping) is adequate. After all the effort you put in during your treatment, it’s a small price to pay to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile forever! After a couple years have passed since the completion of your treatment, you can usually get away with wearing your retainers every other night, or even twice a week.
If you’re thinking about pursuing orthodontic treatment and have questions about retainers, braces, Invisalign® and more, come and see us for your free consultation! You can request your consultation online in just minutes by clicking here.