Do You Have To Wear A Retainer Forever

Retainers & orthodontics Faqs

Patient questions

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do you have to wear a retainer forever?

Here, at the Perfect Smile, a burning question we often receive from patients is often “how long will I have to wear a retainer for?”

However, there are many factors that will determine and influence the duration you will need to wear a retainer after your teeth straightening system, these include:

  • The type of teeth straightening system you use
  • The severity of your orthodontic issue
  • What additional treatments are required as part of your treatment

Removable retainers are generally only worn during the night and perhaps for a year.

It is important to note that each case is unique and different, therefore the dentist will advise you according to your situation.

Retainers are very comfortable and most patients do not seem to have any problems with them.

They simply provide the peace of mind that the aligned teeth will remain straight.

See: Can you get braces on the NHS when over 18?

the importance of wearing a retainer

there are two types of retainers:

  • Removable Retainers. These can be removed from your mouth to eat and clean your teeth. They can also be made clear.
  • Fixed Retainers. These are bonded directly to the backs of your front teeth securing them in place.

Following on from any type of orthodontic (teeth straightening) treatment especially on adults, the teeth need to be “fixed” in their new positions.

Retainers are devices that fix the teeth into their new place. The danger of not wearing a retainer will increase the chance of teeth moving out of their corrected positions.

The major problem with this is that teeth can move into unpredictable positions.

Your treatment can relapse

Teeth can relapse to varying degrees, so some people may find their teeth take years to move out of place and others notice changes within the first year of treatment.

It is important to note that adult teeth are much more likely to relapse as their mouths are not in the developmental stages as a growing child’s.

Adult teeth have a tendency to go back to their original positions. This is because the bone, facial muscles like the cheek and tongue have all got used to a certain amount of space to occupy in the mouth.

So when teeth are moved into a new position your body responds by placing pressure on the teeth to recapture its original space.

It is therefore recommended that adults continue to wear a retainer after their treatment.

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retainer wear times and durations

  • Times will differ depending on the treatment, for example:

    • Invisalign (virtually invisible): It is advised to wear aligners for 12 months after treatment, this is to ensure that there is sufficient bone deposited around the teeth to keep them stable. It is recommended to wear them 3-5 times a week.
    • CFast (most affordable): For the first year, it is advisable to wear your removable aligner 3-4 nights a week.
    • Six Month Smiles (super fast): You can either choose to have a fixed retainer bonded to the back of your teeth, or you can wear a retainer a few nights a week to prevent the teeth from shifting.
    • Fixed Braces (traditional form): In some cases, you will need to wear a retainer all day every day between four and 12 months. You will find that many orthodontists prescribe wearing a retained every night once your braces have been removed.


The above is based on mild orthodontic cases. Once you speak with a dentist about your misalignment problems and concerns, more accurate descriptions can be given.

retainers after braces: use & cleaning guidelines

Taking care of your retainer can be easy. Every time you remove it to make sure to clean it with lukewarm water.

The benefit of rinsing your retainer when it is still wet from saliva will help to prevent food from hardening and sticking to the device.

We take great pride in the orthodontic treatments we carry out.

You can visit us at our Hertfordshire or London consultancy rooms by booking a free consultation.

Call us on 01992 552115 for more information today.

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