First 3-6 Months After Orthodontic Treatment
For the first 3 months after orthodontic treatment is completed, wear your retainers day and night. Only remove them to eat and brush your teeth. After three months, wear your retainer only at night. You will need to continue daily nighttime wear for as long as you want your smile to remain the same. Not wearing the trays every night forever will lead to your teeth shifting and your retainers no longer being effective. Retainers can last up to two years. However, some people unknowingly stretch their retainers out sooner. This can result commonly from grinding/clenching. Which over 85% of the population does, most without any knowledge or awareness of doing so.
Stretched retainers can also commonly happen to your first tray since you will be using it 22 of 24 hours for the first three months after completing orthodontic treatment. In addition, there are numerous uncommon reasons for retainers to stretch out sooner. Such as not using your retainer daily. Any of these reasons and others can lead to teeth shifting despite using your retainer as instructed.
Every 6 Months
Every six months you should try on a new duplicate retainer. If the new retainers feel significantly tighter, your current set of retainers has stretched. It is time to switch into a new set before your teeth irreversibly shift. If you only have one set of retainers, there is no way to determine if your teeth have shifted until you notice that shift. At which point, it is too late, and your smile has changed. Getting a new scan/impression for new retainers will stop further shifting but will not shift teeth back to where you were happiest with your smile. This is why we recommend choosing Vivera, which is four sets of retainers, with your scan, saved on file for future sets (not included).
When You Need More Retainers
Please call us for more retainers when you are ready to upgrade from your single set retainer to a more secure way of protecting your smile that you have worked so hard to get. We will scan you for Vivera. You can also let us know when you start using your last set of Vivera. You don’t ever want to be without a backup on hand. If you have had no major dental work and have been correctly following the instructions above, you will likely not need a new scan/impression.
Please feel free to bring your retainers in for cleaning every time you come to our office for a professional dental cleaning.