Choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment is a really big decision, and it's made even more so by the fact that even when your braces come off, you have to commit to wearing a retainer, at least periodically, for the rest of your life.
Though our orthodontists understand only too well the frustration many patients feel about having to wear a retainer, the fact remains: retainers are an extremely important element of any successful orthodontic treatment process.
Why do you need a retainer?
Retainer are custom-made orthodontic appliances that are made to fit your unique mouth, in order to ‘retain’ your teeth in their new, corrected positions.
Your teeth go through a lot of movement during your orthodontic treatment, and so once your braces are off, they need to re-settle into the soft tissue and jaw bone around them, usually over the course of a year.
Since the braces are no longer there to hold your teeth in place, you'll wear a retainer during this time to prevent your teeth from shifting out of their new, straightened positions.
It's important to wear your retainer as your orthodontist prescribes so that the beautiful results of your orthodontic treatment are maintained!
How long should do retainers need to be worn, and how frequently?
Immediately after the braces come off, most patients wear their retainers full time for about a year, although this can vary significantly from person to person.
Your orthodontist will make a recommendation about whether your retainer should be worn full time or part time based on the stability of your teeth during your time wearing your retainer.
Are retainers uncomfortable?
As you may expect, your retainer will feel a little uncomfortable at first, until you get used to it. This is a normal part of the process!
Ultimately, the more consistently you wear your retainer, the more comfortable it will feel.