How Long Should you use Retainers after Clear Aligner Treatment?

clear retainer

People who have got their smiles corrected at some point in their lives know the importance of religiously wearing retainers after braces. Retainers are not optional but rather mandatory if you want to retain the progress made throughout your teeth straightening journey.

The most common question people have after completing a teeth correction process is how long should I wear retainers? The answer to this question is that you should wear your retainers for at least 8-12 months after getting your teeth straightened by any type of braces or aligners. Wearing retainers after braces helps your teeth to stay in the desired position once you stop wearing your aligners.

Retainer Types and Length of Time for Wearing Them

Wondering if you have to wear your retainers forever? The answer is it depends on the type of retainers you wear.

Here are three primary types of retainers and the duration for which you need to wear them to retain your teeth straightening results.

- Hawley Removable Retainers

Typically, these retainers are made from hard plastic, metal or acrylic. These retainers are removable so you can remove them while brushing, flossing and before your meals. Your dentist will recommend you wear this type of retainer every day for at least 6-9 months after your teeth straightening treatment.

After this, you can switch to wearing them only at night and eventually only wearing them a couple of nights a week. Note that you will be required to wear these retainers every few nights for the rest of your life.

- Permanent Bonded Retainers

As the name suggests, you can’t remove these types of retainers. These retainers are glued to your teeth forever after your teeth straightening treatment. Unless they break, these retainers will last you for a long period before you are required to visit your dentist and get them replaced. Note that you need to pay extra attention while brushing under the retainer wire as they are known to trap food particles and debris. We recommend you invest in makeO toothsi’s Floss X smart water flosser to enjoy a seamless flossing experience after getting permanent bonded retainers.

- Clear Removable Retainers

Unlike Hawley removal retainers, clear removable retainers don’t have any metal surface. Hence, they are more comfortable and easy to wear in comparison to Hawley removal retainers. Just like in the case of Hawley removal retainers, your dentist will recommend you wear these religiously during day time for several months before you can switch to wearing them every night and eventually wearing them a few nights a week.

Since they are made from plastic, they might break or wear out eventually and you will have to go and get them replaced after a few years.

For How Long In A Day Do You Have to Wear Retainers?

You may also have the question of how much time to wear a retainer each day after your treatment is complete. During the initial 3-6 months after your treatment is complete, you may be required to wear your retainers for 20-22 hours each day.

Once this initial phase is complete, you have to wear your retainers for 8-10 hours each for at least a year. You can achieve this time by wearing your retainers during the night. During your teeth correction process through braces or aligners, your jawbone gets softened to enable your teeth to move into their desired position. After your treatment process is complete, it is necessary to wear aligners to allow the new bone and connective tissue to grow around the base to maintain your teeth correction results.

What Will Happen If You Are Not Wearing Retainers After Braces?

Now that we have gathered that wearing retainers is non-negotiable, let us understand the severe consequences of not wearing your retainers as suggested by your dentist or orthodontist. It is noticed that your teeth will relapse to their original position if you don’t wear your retainers after your teeth straightening treatment. The shifting of your teeth happens gradually.

After a week of skipping your retainers, your teeth might experience minor shifts and notice small gaps in between your teeth. After not wearing your retainers for a month, you might redevelop your case of an overbite, crossbite, etc, and require professional help to realign your teeth. If you continue to ditch your retainers for an entire year after your teeth straightening experience, your teeth might completely shift back to their original position just like how they were before your clear aligners treatment.

Note that after not using your retainers for a year or more, you might have to buy a new one as your old one most likely won’t fit you anymore.

Retainer Care Tips

Wondering how you can keep your removable retainers squeaky clean and increase their shelf life with minimum effort? Here are some handy tips that will help you do so:

  • Wear your retainers regularly so that they fit you properly.
  • Keep them away from hot environments like your car and any place that gets direct sunlight.
  • You must keep your retainers away from your furry friends at all costs,
  • Clean your retainers regularly by mixing 1 part of sodium hypochlorite with 10 parts of water and soaking them in this solution.
  • Replace your retainers if they are broken or worn out.

Teeth Alignment with makeO toothsi

If you are looking to start your teeth alignment journey, then you can check out high-quality clear aligners from makeO toothsi. The clear aligners from makeO toothsi can fix various teeth alignment issues such as teeth gaps, uneven bite, and crooked teeth.

makeO toothsi has designed over 1,50,000 smiles while meeting international standards such as ISO, FDA, and CE. You can start your teeth straightening process with a pricing plan starting from ₹3,219/month.


What do retainers do?

Braces or aligners bring your teeth to the desired position and retainers help to maintain that position of your teeth after the treatment is complete.

How long should I wear retainers after braces?

How long you need to wear retainers after braces will depend upon the degree of your teeth correction. However, the average time for wearing your retainers is 8-12 months after completing your teeth correction process.

How long do retainers stay on?

In the initial 3-6 months after your treatment, you may be required to wear the retainers for about 20-22 hours a day. After 6 months, you can start wearing your retainers for 8-10 hours a day by getting a nod from your orthodontist.

Are retainers painful?

You can feel slight discomfort or pain in the initial time when you start wearing your retainers. The uncomfortable feeling can last as long as a week when you just start using your retainers. However, as time passes, you will feel more accustomed to wearing your retainers.

Do I have to wear my retainer forever?

Typically, you have to wear your retainers during daytime and nighttime for the initial few months after your clear aligners treatment. After this, your dentist will recommend you switch to wearing your retainers at nighttime only forever.

What happens if I stop wearing my retainer after 2 years?

You will notice that your teeth have become crooked again if you stop wearing your retainers for a long period. You will then require professional help to again realign your teeth and fix your smile.

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