Ridge Meadows Othrodontics

How Long Do I have to Wear My Retainer?

Posted in Articles, Orthodontic Treatment Options

How Long Do I have to Wear My Retainer?

Retainers are orthodontic devices that help keep teeth in their new and improved positions after braces treatment is complete. Here’s some information about retainers, and how long they need to be worn.


There’s isn't standard, one-size-fits-all timeframe for orthodontic treatment. Our treatment plans are customized for the unique needs of each patient, to ensure the best results possible are achieved.

This goes for retainers, too. Every orthodontics patient needs to wear a retainer for some period of time after their braces are removed, but this time frame differs (sometimes significantly) from person to person. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll lay it out in phases.

Phase 1 - Full-Time Retainer Wear

When your braces first come off, you’ll probably have to wear your retainer full time, only taking it out to to eat, and to brush and floss your teeth. This phase lasts around 6 months to a year for most people.

Phase 2 - Night Time Retainer Wear

Throughout phase 1, your orthodontist will evaluate your teeth on a regular basis to determine when you can begin wearing your retainer nights only. This usually takes place for the remaining time in the year that you no longer have to wear your retainer full time. So, if you only have to wear your retainer full time for 6 months, then typically, you’ll wear it at night only for another 6 months or so.

Phase 3 - Maintenance

You'll have to wear your retainer on a part time basis for the rest of your life in order to maintain your straight new smile. Some of our patients dismayed about this news, but the fact is that your straight smile may not stay that way without continued retainer wear.

Although the bone grows back around your teeth, anchoring them in their new positions after treatment, there's still a a chance that they could eventually shift back out of position later on.

To keep them where they belong, orthodontists typically suggest patients wear their retainers about 3 - 5 times a week for life.

While this may be mildly inconvenient, the payoff is a straight, healthy smile that stays that way. It’s definitely worth it! besides which, you'll get so used to it, you'll hardly give it a second thought after a while.

If you have questions about your retainer, or would like to make an appointment to discuss your orthodontics options, contact Ridge Meadows Orthodontics today!

Book your No Obligation Smile Consultation today with Ridge Meadows Orthodontics.