Lifetime retainer wear is an important part of your orthodontic maintenance treatment if recommended by your orthodontist. When you finish your orthodontic treatment, you are probably excited to be done with it! While it is important to take time to enjoy your newly formed smile, foregoing your recommended instructions can lead to serious setbacks. Lifetime retainer wear is often necessary to maintain your perfectly aligned smile.
Even if this isn’t what you wanted to hear, it’s not as bad as you may think. While lifetime retainer wear seems so permanent, it does not mean you need to wear a retainer at all times. Most post orthodontic treatment phases require you only wear your retainer for a set amount of time each day. Some even recommend you only wear your retainer at night. But, even if your orthodontist says that your retention plan will only last a few months or a year, it is recommended that you continue with lifetime retainer wear to some degree if you want to keep that perfectly straight smile.
Why is Lifetime Retainer Wear Necessary?
It may be frustrated to hear anyone say lifetime retainer wear is necessary to maintain your smile. But the truth is that even the best orthodontic treatment can find ongoing shifts will occur overtime. That’s because your gum fibers will slowly try to pull your teeth back to where they once were. And, as you age, your skeletal structure changes and your teeth experience the natural wear of time. That means your teeth are likely to shift towards their original positions if you don’t follow a long-term maintenance plan when your orthodontic treatment is complete.
How straight your smile stays is a direct result of how you maintain your smile when orthodontic treatment is finished. So, lifetime retainer wear is crucial if you want to preserve your straight smile.
What to Expect
Even if your orthodontist recommends a specific timeline for your retention phase, lifetime retainer wear can be of benefit to you. Most patients continue to wear their retainer after orthodontic treatment ends. The rule of thumb is to wear your retainer primarily at night.
Hawley Retainers are the most common type of retainer. They include a metal wire that surrounds the six anterior teeth, or top front teeth, and keeps them in place. The Hawley bow incorporates two loops for adjustment and is anchored in an acrylic arch that sits on the roof of your mouth.
Invisalign Retainers are clear, removable aligners that are fitted around your teeth.
Fixed bonded retainers remain in the mouth 24 hours a day. It is a thin wire worn across the back of the upper or lower teeth and is bonded in place with cement.
While your orthodontist is dedicated to giving you the best possible treatment available, you should continue to maintain your perfect smile throughout the rest of your life. Lifetime retainer wear can ensure your teeth stay safely in place and reduce their risk of going back to their old positions. You invested lots of time and effort into perfecting your smile. Take the simple, necessary steps to keep it that way!