Close up of woman holding retainer with two fingers

How Long Do You Need to Wear Your Retainer?

Getting your braces removed may leave you smiling in relief, but unfortunately, your newly straightened teeth are likely to fall out of alignment unless you wear a retainer. As the name suggests, retainers are intended to retain the shape of newly straightened teeth. They can be fixed or removable, and it’s probable that your Calgary dentist will recommend you keep wearing yours for at least a year.


Why You Need to Wear a Retainer 

Whether it was due to an accident, a genetic predisposition or any other factor, prior to having braces, your teeth were misaligned. Over a period of time (generally 18 to 36 months) the orthodontics in your mouth slowly pushed your teeth into their current straightened configuration. However, until the bone tissue grows in around the newly positioned teeth—a process that can take up to a year—they’re extremely vulnerable to slipping back into their prior formation. Wearing a retainer ensures that your teeth will stay put until the bone tissue fills in any gaps and your jaw is able to completely support the new tooth structure. 


The Length of Time You Should Wear Your Retainer

A number of factors will influence how long your dentist instructs you to wear your retainer, including your age, the type of misalignment corrected, and whether or not the retainer will be used to finalize a few tooth positions. Generally, you can expect to have to wear your retainer all day every day at least six months, and only at night for another six. 


Why You Might Want to Wear Your Retainer Even Longer

Teeth are comprised of bone, a type of living tissue. As such, your chompers will continue to shift and move in your mouth as you age. Over years and decades, it’s likely that your once-straightened teeth will once again become misaligned. In order to avoid this scenario, more than one dentist in Calgary recommends wearing your retainer at night indefinitely. Given that you almost certainly already spent thousand of dollars to straighten your teeth, perhaps continued wearing of your retainer is well worth the additional investment. Ask your dentist if this approach is right for you.


Welcoming New Patients

At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we offer complete general and cosmetic dentistry services, including orthodontics. We use braces and retainers to straighten misaligned teeth and can give you a smile that makes you feel more attractive and confident. To get additional information about our orthodontic treatments, simply contact us with your questions or book an appointment at our Calgary clinic.

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