How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer (And Why)?

How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 Months

Crooked, out-of-shape, misaligned teeth are very common in children and adults. Crooked teeth are inherited. Jaw size, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, overbites, underbites, poor dental health, size of teeth, and trauma are the reasons for having misaligned teeth.

The retainer is a kind of orthodontic appliance that can solve this problem and restore the teeth to their original position after orthodontic treatment. Retainers made from plastic or metal can be suitable for everyone to customize according to their personal needs. All retainers are different. They are made to match up with the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth. After removing the braces, the person needs to wear a retainer, and if you don’t do it, you will waste all the time or years, and cost, that you put into the braces. 

In orthodontic treatment, everything is remodeled, such as muscles, bones, and teeth. This process is not strong because they are in a stretched state and return to their original position. The retainer holds the teeth in place, allowing time for the oral muscles to coordinate changes and avoid degeneration. The retainer is a key part of the treatment. So, the person who goes through orthodontic treatment must wear a retainer.

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How Long To Wear A Retainer?

When it comes to health issues, it always depends from person to person. The exact duration of wearing a retainer depends on the type of your dental situation. There are two general types of retainers-a removable and a fixed retainer, or your dentist may recommend both, one for your upper teeth and the other for your bottom teeth. Removable retainers come in two forms: wire retainers made from wire and clear retainers made from a plastic-like material.

One can remove it while eating or brushing their teeth. If your dentist suspects no movement in the teeth, then they might recommend using the retainer during the night. You can wear removable retainers for at least 12 months after the braces and for the first time for 4 to 6 months of the year.

The fixed retainer is very thin and suitable for everyone to customize. It helps to keep the teeth stable for a longer period and needs to be worn for a longer period. You can’t be able to remove the fixed retainers while eating or brushing.

Types of retainersWearable for
Removal retainers12 months
Fixed retainers3 years

Once a child removes the braces, they should start wearing a retainer. The teeth might be aching for the first few days, but it is a completely natural process. It can be difficult to get children used to wearing a retainer. There are some ways to make wearing a retainer fun and exciting for children.

Customize the retainer by putting a picture of the child’s favorite cartoon character or book character. This idea might help your child get excited and put the retainer on every night. Be calm and gentle. Don’t get tired of reminding your child to wear a retainer.

It takes time to form a new habit. Motivate your child to wear a retainer, especially in the first few months. Try using creative ideas, such as putting a note in the retainer case. This idea could be fun and exciting for the child when they open the case of the retainer.

Why Do We Have To Wear A Retainer For So Long?

It is important to wear a retainer for a long time because it helps to balance the bone and the tissue around the teeth, which needs time to adapt to the changes made during tooth positioning. They are slowly stabilizing in their new positions. Preteens and teenagers wear braces, so they use the retainers for their teeth when wisdom teeth appear and help maintain the space between the new teeth and wisdom teeth.

It helps in preventing the reversal of the treatment after the removal of the braces. The teeth and gums take time to adjust to the new position because of the alignment of the teeth. Retainers help in stabilizing the bite. It helps the teeth hold their position even with dislocated teeth, overbites, and underbites. It is important to hold the teeth so they get into their new spaces until the mouth adapts to the changes. 

Orthodontists prescribe how to wear a retainer, but one should maintain the retainer properly. Keeping the retainer in shape and keeping the teeth straight and aligned are some maintenance suggestions, such as the retainer should be in a case when it is not in use.

Avoid keeping the holder away from heat sources and pets. Follow the rules given by the orthodontist to cleanse the retainer, which involves brushing the retainer or soaking it in a cleaning product. Drink only water while wearing a retainer because other food items might get caught between the teeth, causing them to fall off. Orthodontists recommend gentle brushing and flossing with a fixed retainer.


The success of the orthodontic treatment depends on wearing a retainer. Retainers come in plastic-like material or wire material, and they can be customizable for everyone’s needs. Every retainer is different from the others. The length of the retainer depends on factors that lead to the wear of the braces for the first time. One should wear a retainer for the first 3–6 months.

One should know how to wear retainers and how to maintain them for longer use. Wearing a retainer is much easier than wearing braces. In addition, it allows you to maintain perfect teeth and smile.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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