How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer At Night?
Wearing a retainer after orthodontic treatment is very important as the teeth tend to shift back to their original position if the retainer is not worn. Patients often wonder how long they need to wear a retainer at night. The answer to this question varies from person to person and can depend on several factors such as the type of treatment, age, and genetics.
The Basics Of Retainers
Retainers are custom-made dental appliances made of plastic or metal wires that hold the teeth in their new positions after orthodontic treatment. There are different types of retainers such as Hawley retainers, clear plastic retainers, and fixed retainers.
Hawley retainers are made of a combination of wires and acrylic and are the most common type of retainer. Clear plastic retainers are virtually invisible and are made of a clear thermoplastic material. Fixed retainers are cemented in place behind the teeth and are not removable.
Each type of retainer has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, but the main goal of all retainers is to keep your teeth in their new position.
Different Types of Orthodontic Treatments
The length of time you have to wear a retainer at night depends partly on the type of orthodontic treatment you received.
Traditional metal braces: If you had metal braces, you will need to wear a retainer at night for at least 12 months after your braces are removed. During this time, your orthodontist will see you periodically to make sure that your teeth are not shifting back to their original position.
Clear aligners: Clear aligners such as Invisalign are a popular treatment option for people who want a more discreet treatment option. If you had clear aligners, you will need to wear your retainer at night for at least 22 hours per day for the first six months after your treatment is complete. After that, you can gradually reduce the amount of time you wear your retainer each day.
Factors That Affect The Length Of Time You Need To Wear A Retainer
Age: Younger patients tend to wear their retainers for a longer period of time as their jawbone and teeth are still developing.
Genetics: Some people are more prone to teeth shifting than others due to genetics. If you have family members who have experienced shifting, you may need to wear your retainer for a longer period of time.
Wear and tear: If your retainer is damaged or worn out, you may need to wear it for a longer period of time to ensure that your teeth stay in their new position.
Type of treatment: The type of treatment you received can also affect the length of time you need to wear a retainer. For example, if you had a more severe case of misalignment, you may need to wear your retainer for a longer period of time.
Q: Can I stop wearing my retainer at night?
A: No, you should not stop wearing your retainer at night unless your orthodontist advises you to do so. The purpose of a retainer is to keep your teeth in their new position, and if you stop wearing your retainer, your teeth may shift back to their original position.
Q: Can I wear my retainer during the day?
A: Yes, you can wear your retainer during the day if you prefer. However, most orthodontists recommend that you wear your retainer at night as this is when your teeth are most likely to shift.
Q: How do I take care of my retainer?
A: To take care of your retainer, it’s important that you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Generally, you should clean your retainer daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap. You should also avoid exposing your retainer to high temperatures or boiling water.
Q: What happens if I don’t wear my retainer for a long period of time?
A: If you don’t wear your retainer for a long period of time, your teeth may shift back to their original position. This can undo all the progress you made during your orthodontic treatment and may require additional orthodontic treatment to correct.
Wearing a retainer at night is an essential part of orthodontic treatment, and the length of time you need to wear a retainer depends on several factors such as the type of treatment, age, and genetics. It’s important that you follow your orthodontist’s instructions and wear your retainer as directed to ensure that your teeth stay in their new position. If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, be sure to contact your orthodontist for guidance.