While wearing braces can solve a range of oral health issues, it’s not an experience our patients usually relish. When it’s finally time to take them off, many people are eager to show off their perfect smile and get back to their usual routine. We understand that you are excited about your new smile, but at ZDental, we want you to remember that your orthodontic journey is not quite over. You will still need to wear your retainer for a period of time. If you are wondering how long you will need to wear a retainer, read on to find the answer, plus some information about retainers and how to care for them.

Why Is Wearing a Retainer So Important?

Whether you are being treated with traditional metal braces or clear Invisalign aligners, treatment generally takes anywhere from 1-3 years. Once treatment is completed, your teeth will be appropriately spaced and aligned. Of course, it is still possible for them to migrate further without your braces keeping them in place. That’s where a retainer comes in. Your retainer will apply the correct amount of pressure to keep your teeth in place so that all the time and money you invested in treatment will not be wasted.

Caring for Your Retainer

The great thing about retainers is that they keep your teeth properly situated but they can still be taken out for eating, brushing, and other situations where it becomes necessary. You should wear your retainer as much as possible, but it should be stored in its case any time it’s not in your mouth. This will prevent it from being broken or bent out of shape. Follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for cleaning, which may include brushing it regularly or leaving it to soak in a denture cleaning product. And while you can drink liquids with your retainer in, you should avoid anything other than water, as sugary beverages can get stuck between your retainer and your teeth, leading to tooth decay.

Treatment Time with a Retainer

Immediately after your braces are removed, you should wear your retainer full-time for at least 4 months to a year, or longer if your orthodontist recommends. This means keeping your retainer in whenever you are not eating or brushing your teeth. Once this initial period is over, your orthodontist will assess your needs. If they give you the ok, you can begin wearing your retainer only when sleeping. Your teeth could take a few more months to stabilize, or you could be wearing your retainer at night for another year or more. Some patients may need to continue wearing their retainer at night for several more years.

Affordable Dentistry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

If you are living with oral health conditions like crowding, bite irregularities, or gaps, orthodontia is the answer. Just be sure to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations regarding retainers after your treatment period is over. If you need orthodontic treatment in New Jersey or the Philadelphia area, ZDental has 5 different locations to serve you. Check our contact page for a list of locations in your area and call or schedule an appointment online anytime you need an affordable dentist in Philadelphia or anywhere nearby.