How Long Should You Wear a Retainer After Getting Your Braces Off?


You finally got your braces off. Congratulations! After years of tightening, avoiding certain foods, and brushing conscientiously, you have a beautiful new smile that Hollywood stars would envy.

To keep it looking flawless, however, your orthodontist may ask you to wear a removable retainer. Often, our patients will ask:

Why Do I Need a Retainer?

When your braces first come off, the bone around your jaw is not ready to firmly keep your teeth in their new position. Your teeth are at risk of shifting every time you bite, chew, or speak. A retainer is a custom-made mouthpiece that holds your teeth in place until new bone tissue builds up around them.

How Often Do I Need to Wear My Retainer?

For the first three to six months, you should only take out your retainer while eating after your braces come off. It may take a few more months depending on your unique situation. Eventually, you will be able to wear your retainer less often and then only at night.

Do I Really Have to Wear My Retainer Overnight for the Rest of My Life?

Your orthodontist may tell you to wear your retainer overnight every night for the rest of your life, and that is the ideal. After one year, make this commitment to your smile:

Wear your retainer at least a few nights a week to keep your teeth straight, and if your retainer starts to feel tight, wear it every night until it becomes comfortable again.

How Do I Take Care of My Retainer?

When you aren’t wearing your retainer, keep it safely in its case. Additionally, your retainer will warp in extreme heat, so don’t leave it in a hot car or set it beside the stove. Finally, clean your retainer regularly either by brushing it with toothpaste or soaking it in a cleaner recommended by your orthodontist.

Are You Looking for a Great Orthodontist?

If you live in Center City Philadelphia and need braces or other orthodontic work, then you can trust Dr. Han Lee of Center City Dental. Dr. Lee is highly qualified and loves to help each patient achieve renewed confidence in their smile.

To find out if you are a good fit for braces, a retainer, or Invisalign in Philadelphia, call us today at 215-315-7691!