Braces are an effective pathway to achieving a perfect smile, but having them removed does not mean that there is no more work to be done. Just as braces shift teeth out of their original positions, the teeth will be inclined to continue shifting once the braces come off. To keep the teeth in place, orthodontists recommend that patients wear retainers after braces are removed for varying lengths of time. In the video below, Buffalo orthodontist Dr. Andrew J. Dusel discusses how long patients can expect to wear retainers after braces have aligned their teeth. If you still have questions after watching the video, schedule a free consultation with our dedicated orthodontists today.
The Importance of Retainers After Braces
As each patient gets her or his braces removed, we provide detailed instructions regarding how the retainers should be worn. When we remove the braces from teenagers or adolescents, we instruct them to wear their retainers about full-time for six to eight weeks after the braces come off. Following this initial period, we recommend they slowly reduce their wear to bedtime only. We insist upon patients wearing their retainers while sleeping, at least until we are certain that the wisdom teeth will not cause changes in the bite.
If you happen to accidentally miss a day or two, this will generally not cause an issue as the teeth shift over time. However, if patients choose not to wear their retainers for extended periods of time, this can lead to issues as your teeth will start shifting again and all the work you achieved by wearing braces will be lost.
Once the wisdom teeth are removed—if that is in fact necessary—we instruct patients to wear their retainers enough to ensure that the retainers continue to fit. If a retainer fits right and is not too tight, we can be sure the teeth are not shifting. As a general rule, I tell patients to continue to wear retainers about three nights a week. That frequency should be enough to keep them fitting and prevent any changes in tooth alignment.
If you haven’t been diligent with wearing your retainer as frequently as you should, and it no longer fits like it used to, contact us as soon as possible. In these cases, your teeth may have shifted and we can usually correct slight alignment issues when addressed immediately. If your teeth have shifted dramatically, or you have not worn your retainer for an extended period of time, we may have to get you fitted for a new retainer that has the proper alignment.
If you are in Western New York and have questions about the importance of retainers after braces, and how often you should be wearing them, contact our office to schedule a free orthodontic screening. At Orthodontists Associates of Western New York, we offer braces for all ages and our mission is to be recognized as the leading Orthodontic Practice of Western New York with an emphasis on Early Treatment.