Preserving Smiles: Why Do Adults Have to Wear Retainers Forever?

Aug 14, 2023 | About Orthodontics

Invisalign correcting overbite

It’s time to cover a topic that many adults and orthodontic patients often wonder about: the lifelong journey with retainers after braces or Invisalign. After spending all this time in ceramic braces, metal brackets, or Invisalign trays, it seems strange to continue wearing a retainer forever. But trust us – it’s essential, and we’ll break down why.

What do retainers accomplish? How long do you have to wear them? And does everyone (even adults) need them? Let’s dive into the world of retainers and understand their essential role in maintaining happy, healthy smiles!

What Does a Retainer Do After Treatment?

So, you’ve graduated from braces or Invisalign—congratulations! But your orthodontic journey isn’t quite over. Retainers are the next step, and they play a crucial role in preserving the alignment of your teeth.

The purpose of a retainer is to hold your teeth in their new positions after your braces or Invisalign treatment has straightened out your bad bite or crooked chompers. But why?

Your teeth naturally tend to drift back towards their original positions—a phenomenon known as “relapse.” Your orthodontist will give you a retainer to wear around the clock after treatment. This is because your gums need time to tighten around your new tooth position. Once your gums are good to go, you’ll still have to wear your retainer trays at night because your teeth will always want to drift slowly back into their original spots. 

Retainers help combat movement and relapse, ensuring that your teeth stay in their newly aligned positions and your beautiful smile stays intact!

elastic orthodontic rubber bands for braces

Do Adults Need a Retainer After Braces? 

Absolutely! Whether you underwent orthodontic treatment as a teenager or an adult, wearing a retainer post-treatment is essential for everyone. Sorry, but there’s no age where you’ll be able to get out of wearing a retainer! Teeth can shift at any age due to aging, gum disease, grinding, and even changes in body weight. So, no matter how old you are, wearing a retainer after braces or Invisalign is a must to keep your smile looking its best.

How Long Do Patients Have to Wear Retainers After Treatment? 

Here’s where the ‘forever’ part comes in. To ensure the long-term stability of your orthodontic results, we recommend that patients wear their retainers at night indefinitely. While it may sound daunting, consider it a small nightly ritual to maintain your investment in a beautiful smile. After all, you’ve worked hard for those straight teeth—let’s keep them that way!

As we said, you’ll likely wear your trays every day for the first part of your post-treatment time. After a few months, you can wear your retainer only when you sleep. 

Embrace Your Retainer Ritual for a Longlasting Smile

Retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic journey, helping to maintain the alignment of your teeth after braces or Invisalign treatment. Whether you’re an adult or a teenager, wearing your retainer at night is a lifelong commitment—but one that’s well worth it for preserving your radiant smile.

At Pura Vida Orthodontics, we understand that every smile is unique, and we’re here to guide you through each step of your orthodontic journey. So, embrace your retainer ritual, and remember: every night, you’re securing the longevity of your beautiful, straight smile. Here’s to a lifetime of confident grins! 

young girl with new braces smiling about starting orthodontic treatment