Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings Blog

Shift Happens, So Wear Your Retainer


Finally, you’ve made it!

You’ve been through months of tightening wires, avoiding fruit cake during the holidays, and patiently awaiting the day you can show off your perfect smile. You are braces-free, and the world is ready to see those straight pearly whites.

But you’re not done yet. There’s still another very important factor in the braces journey — wearing your retainer.

Just like during pre-braces days, your teeth will continue to shift over time. Your teeth are attached to your gums by fibers and ligaments, and during orthodontic treatment, these ligaments become loose. For the first year after braces, your teeth will have a strong tendency to relapse into their original position, so wearing a retainer will keep your teeth in the new position.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable. Fixed retainers have a wire that is attached to the inside surface of your teeth, and this can only be removed by your orthodontist.

Removable retainers are usually clear, and you can remove these as needed, like for eating. However, this is where you must take responsibility for the investment of your smile, and wear your retainer!

How Long Must I Wear My Retainer?

For the first few months, depending on your individual orthodontic treatment, you need to wear your removable retainer all the time. The bone around your shifted teeth will be soft, and you want to ensure that your teeth don’t shift into the softer bone mass.

After that, you’ll switch to wearing it every night. We recommend doing this for the rest of your life — if you want your teeth to stay straight. Your teeth will naturally shift over time, so remember how hard you worked for that smile.

We recommend keeping your fixed retainer in for 10 years. If it’s not bothering you or causing hygiene problems, you can keep it in as long as you want.

What Will Happen if I Don’t Wear My Retainer?

Your teeth will move, and you may once again find yourself unhappy with your smile. This is one reason why many people choose to get braces as adults, because they didn’t wear their retainer the first time.

If you lose your retainer or need a replacement over time, give us a call. Your teeth are an important investment, and we don’t want to see you back for another round of braces.

Visit a Board Certified Licensed Orthodontist in South Dakota

If you didn’t wear your retainer the first time around and are considering braces again, it’s not too late to continue investing in your smile. Or, if you need a replacement retainer, we’re happy to help.

If you’re in the Brookings or Madison area, come see us for a free orthodontic consultation today.