The short answer to how long you should wear your retainers after orthodontic treatment is…..the rest of your life. We surely wish we could tell you your teeth would absolutely stay put without the need to wear retainers, but that is just not the case. The simple truth is that teeth shift over time. When you get your braces off or finish your Invisalign treatment, your teeth will want to go back to their original positions. Sometimes teeth shift quite quickly, and in other cases teeth shift very slowly and gradually.
When you first get your braces off, here at KCC Orthodontics we ask you to wear your retainers full time, meaning most of the day, unless you are eating or brushing your teeth. At the end of orthodontic treatment, your bone has been softened and ligaments loosened due to the orthodontic movements that were made. We need your bone and ligaments to tighten back up without any movement at all, so we ask you to wear your retainers full time. Think of this process like the curing of wet concrete, your bone just needs some time to harden and set around the teeth. Here at KCC Orthodontics, Dr. Gutierrez gradually cuts back the time you wear your retainers each day over a 4-6 month time period. The end goal being nighttime only wear to keep your teeth as straight and beautiful as the day we took your braces off or finished your Invisalign treatment.
If you currently have retainers and they are fitting well, keep going to avoid any future need for more orthodontic treatment. If you have retainers but have not been wearing them consistently, and they are tight, please wear them as much as you can (even all day) until they no longer feel tight. If you have had some very minimal shifting from not wearing your retainers, the retainers can possibly move the teeth back to the original retention position
If your retainers do not fit because your teeth have slightly shifted, we can do one of several things. 1) We can do some limited orthodontic treatment and get your teeth aligned correctly, then make new retainers, OR 2) we can simply make you some new retainers to keep your teeth exactly where they are currently. But please remember, if you decide to do nothing and stop wearing retainers completely, there is a strong risk that your teeth will continue to shift even more than they already have.
Feel free to call KCC Orthodontics at 281-392-0888 if you would like to be evaluated for orthodontic treatment or just need new retainers.