Wearing a retainer after braces: What to know?

Retainers are custom-made dental devices that keep your teeth in place. Orthodontists prescribe retainers following orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to help keep your bite in place after it has been altered or corrected. Wearing a retainer can be bothersome, but it's a minor annoyance compared to repeatedly wearing braces.  

This article will go through the fundamentals of wearing your retainer, such as how long you must wear it every day and how to keep it clean.  

What are the benefits of teeth retainers?  

Even after braces have straightened your teeth, they are not stable in their new position. This only happens once the gums, bones, and muscles adjust to the unique situation. Everyday behaviors such as chewing and grinding stress your teeth and might cause them to move. Malocclusion can also occur due to the shifting of teeth. When you close your mouth, your upper and lower teeth do not line.  

For an extended period, your braces maintained your teeth straight. Nothing can prevent your teeth from returning to their original position after removing your braces. When you wear a retainer, it helps to keep your teeth in place and prevents them from moving. Consider the following: Braces straighten your teeth, but retainers keep them straight. They aid in the "retention" of your teeth position.

Types of Retainers

After removing your braces, your orthodontist recommends three types of retainers. All the types help to keep your teeth from moving and to secure them in their new position permanently.  

Bonded retainers: A bonded retainer is the first type. Dentists recommend a bonded retainer if you require to wear your retainer all day and night due to orthodontic treatment. After removing your braces, they are connected to your teeth to keep them in place for the first few months after treatment.  

Hawley retainer: The removable retainer is the second type of retainer. Hawley retainers, sometimes known as wire retainers, can be detachable for cleaning and eating. If you wear a removable retainer, it is crucial to follow your orthodontist's recommendations.  

Clear plastic retainers: Clear plastic retainers have grown in popularity recently because they are nearly invisible and hence more likely to be worn. This retainer is not the same as Invisalign, which straightens teeth rather than keeping them from sliding out of place.  

Remember to follow your orthodontist's wear and use recommendations.

Retainer After Braces

How many hours a day should I wear my retainer?  

If you wear a bonded retainer, you'll wear it all day and night. However, the rules are slightly different if you have a removable retainer. Depending on your treatment requirements, you may receive various instructions.  

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the standard suggestion for a detachable retainer is to wear it full-time, except for eating and cleanings, for the first 4 to 6 months after removing your braces.

However, according to a 2010 survey, many orthodontists recommend that you wear your removable retainer at all times for at least 9 months after your braces are removed.  

After a few months and clearance from your orthodontist, you may discontinue using your retainer while sleeping.

How long do you keep a retainer after removing your braces?  

According to the 2010 survey, more than 58 percent of orthodontists prefer to prescribe detachable retainers after braces treatment is completed.  

Most responses advised wearing these retainers every day for 9 months before reducing to nocturnal wear. Forty percent of those polled claimed they prescribe permanent lingual retainers that you wear for the rest of your life.

You will always need to wear a retainer, though you may need to change it after a few years. Whatever type of retainer your orthodontist selects, you will almost certainly be told to continue therapy with it indefinitely.  

What happens if I skip wearing a retainer?  

Your teeth shift throughout your life. If you've ever worn braces, you're aware that the position of your teeth in your mouth can change due to aging and the use of orthodontic appliances.  

Just because your orthodontic treatment is finished does not mean that your teeth will remain in position.  

If you do not use your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist, your teeth will revert to their previous position, a condition known as relapsing. Moreover, if you avoid wearing your retainer, you may require orthodontic treatment again within 10 years, if not sooner.  

Similarly, if you wait to wear your retainer for a few weeks or months, your teeth may shift, and your retainer may no longer fit properly.

What is the best method for keeping your retainer clean?  

Maintaining the cleanliness of your retainer protects your teeth. It can also help to lengthen the life of a removable retainer.  

Bacteria can develop on a retainer in the same way they can grow inside your mouth. The bacteria that cause poor breath can also produce an unpleasant odor on your retainer. That is why it is critical to clean your retainer every day.

Methods for cleaning a bonded retainer  

You should clean your bonded retainer as part of your regular dental care practice. Because a permanent retainer cannot be removed, you must floss your retainer.

You'll get the hang of it after some practice. Also, slant your toothbrush vertically and horizontally to remove any plaque or food particles around your permanent retainer.  

Methods to clean a removable retainer  

Every time you remove your removable retainer, clean it with lukewarm water. Rinsing your retainer while still wet with saliva prevents food from hardening.  

If your orthodontist recommends, you can buy a particular soaking product to soak your retainer between uses.  

It would help if you also scrubbed your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste once a day. However, proceed cautiously because many kinds of toothpaste are abrasive and can harm your retainer. Consider consulting with your orthodontist about the type to use.

If food debris becomes trapped in your retainer, wipe it out with a clean cotton swab dipped in water. Do not put your retainer in the dishwasher or boil it in water.  

Do retainers hurt?  

It shouldn't hurt to obtain your retainer after your braces come off. The fit over your teeth should be snug but pleasant.  

You may experience pain if:  

  • Your retainer is broken or cracked. 
  • You forget to wear your retainer for a brief time, then resume wearing it.  
  • You try to put it on your retainer after not using it for a long time.  

If you experience pain, it is most likely due to your retainer forcing your teeth into proper alignment. You should not experience any pain or discomfort if you wear your retainer as instructed by your dental provider and it is in good condition.  

How much do retainers cost?  

A removable retainer is typically priced between $100 and $500. Clear retainers are more expensive.  

Some insurance companies cover a portion of the cost of orthodontic treatment, while others do not. Check with your insurance provider to find out exactly what your insurance covers.  


Wearing a retainer as directed by your orthodontist is critical to sustaining the results of your braces.  

Your instructions will be tailored to your requirements. Some people must wear a retainer every day for four months, while others must wear it for twelve months.  

Almost all orthodontists recommend you use a retainer every night after removing your braces permanently.

While wearing a retainer for the rest of your life may seem daunting, it is critical to protect your orthodontic investment.

Contact your Danville dentist, Dr. Hoss Abar, DDS, MSD, at Danville Orthodontics today to learn more about the importance of Retainers.


What is the importance for you to wear retainers?

*Neither this nor any other content in this media is meant to prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. We highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition. *

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