This is a question that is asked almost everyday in our office. The answer is an easy one, you need to wear them as long as you would like to keep your teeth straight. If you would like your teeth to be straight until you are 90 then wear your retainers until you are 90. We can only ensure that your teeth stay straight as long as you wear your retainers and they fit properly. Dr. Waxler always says "Our bodies are ever changing no matter how long you've held your teeth straight they can still move as you get older. Even people who had "perfect" teeth when they were young, often find their teeth moving slightly as they age."
So what good were braces?
The secret of a good orthodontic result is to put the teeth in the most stable position that is possible considering the person's facial structure and dental problems. After a few years in retainers, the tooth arrangement should be reasonably stable; although corrected dental and skeletal problems all have varying tendencies to "rebound". This is like people who always have to be on a diet or wear glasses to correct a problem, some teeth need to be retained forever.
If I decide not to wear my retainer...., should I still see my Orthodontist?
After approximately two years of retainer wear we enter into a post-retention period. We require appointments on a "as needed" basis. Unless you are told that your problem is particularly unstable, you may only need to wear your retainer 2-4 nights a week. If you lose, break or your retainer no longer fits please call our office to make an appointment so we can advise you on what options will fit your situation best. If you have graduated from our office there may be an office visit charge or a replacement fee.
What about my bonded (or glued in) retainer?
You may come back to see us anytime to have our office check your bonded retainer, but your regular dentist can evaluate this retainer for you at your dental check ups. If anything appears to be wrong please call us immediately to have it checked. If we need to remove this retainer we suggest getting a removable retainer to ensure that your teeth will stay straight. You may have this retainer removed at anytime and take an impression for a removable retainer to be made (at the current fee). This removable retainer will be asked to wear at night time for as long as you would like to hold those teeth straight.