You are officially free from your braces, but now you need to acquaint yourself with a retainer, so you may be wondering how long your retainer will last and what length of time you’ll need to wear it for. Some of our patients find the fact that retainers are a lifelong necessity a bit hard to chew. However, if you want to prevent your newly straightened teeth from shifting, you’ll need to regularly wear your retainer and make sure it’s in tip-top shape by replacing it when necessary.
When your braces are removed, your orthodontist will recommend you wear your retainer almost the entire day, every day, less the time you’re eating. You’ll want to maintain this routine for the first three to six months after your braces are taken off. After that point, with the go-ahead from your orthodontist, you may be able to transition to nighttime-only wear.
How Often Should I Replace My Retainer?
There are no hard and fast rules for when you’ll need to get a new retainer, however, several factors may indicate when you’re up for a replacement:
If You Have a Bonded Retainer
Also known as that permanent retainer attached to the back of your teeth. You may find the glue that bonds the retainer wears away with everyday activities such as eating and brushing your teeth. This type of retainer will typically last around three years or more, but keep an eye on the glue and wires to ensure your teeth are being properly fixed in place.
If You’re Using a Removable Retainer
You may have one of two types: one may be acrylic, sitting at the roof of your mouth or behind your teeth. Alternatively, your retainer may just be a single piece of clear moulded plastic that goes over the teeth.
Both types of removable retainers can experience wear and tear over time. The acrylic version, referred to as Hawley retainers, may last up to 10 years. The other version may not last nearly as long and will likely need to be replaced more frequently.
For both types of retainers, keep an eye out for cracks, chips, ill-fit and an overall “dingy” look that indicates it may be time for a new appliance to keep your teeth in check.
Look After Your Retainer and It Will Look After Your Perfect Smile
If you’re unsure as to whether or not your retainer is in fine enough form to keep your teeth from shifting, you should schedule an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible to get their professional opinion. You don’t want an unclean or dysfunctional retainer doing any harm to the smile you’ve invested so much time and money into, so let Foley Wilde Orthodontics help you take amazing care of your teeth – now, and well into the future.