The question of how long a person should wear an orthodontic retainer really breaks down into two parts. There is the question of how many hours per day a person should wear a retainer to get the maximum benefit, and then there is the question of how long in their life a person needs to wear a retainer to get the most use out of it. Both questions have merit, and both are certainly the types of things that a reasonable person can ask. We are going to look at answers for both of these today.
What Is The Actual Purpose Of A Retainer?
One should always open up the conversation about retainers by first addressing what the purpose of a retainer is in the first place. Why is it that we spend time and money on these things? They do serve a very important purpose, but we are sometimes blinded by how uncomfortable we are with wearing one in the first place that we forget to look at it as a tool that is going to help shape our lives for the better.
A retainer helps keep a person’s teeth straight after they have had orthodontic surgery to get them straightened out in the first place. If used properly, the retainer will keep a person on the road to having the straight smile that they have wanted to have.
How Many Hours Per Day Should They Be Worn?
This is a question that is best answered depending upon how long it has been since your surgery. The less time that has passed between your surgery and now the longer per day you should wear your retainer. The general recommendation is 22 hours per day for the first three to six months.
At the three to six-month mark a patient may ask their orthodontist if he or she believes that there has been enough progress made to remove the retainer during the daytime hours. Your doctor may or may not give the go-ahead on this, but at least you will know where you stand. If you are given the go-ahead you should still make sure you wear your retainer when you go to sleep at night. It is the only way that you can know for sure that you are going to make the real progress that you need to make with your new smile.
In It For The Long Haul
The benefits of a new smile are too many to list here, but at the same time, you should also know that you are in this for the long haul. Once your treatment is over, you are in control on how you maintain your new smile – and wearing your retainer is big part of treatment’s success!