Night Time Vs Full-Time Retainers: Which are Better?

Permanent retainer

Done with your clear aligners or braces treatment? Congratulations! Thought you are a free bird now? That might not be the case. This is where your orthodontist will hand you a set of retainers.

Retainers help to hold your newly-straightened teeth in place so that they don’t shift back to their original place. By now you must have already figured out that they are a crucial step of your teeth straightening process and cannot be skipped.

Wearing removable retainers after braces for the first time and have several questions running through your mind, right from what are full-time retainers, what are night-time retainers, and which one to wear when?

Fret not, we have got your back. Here is a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know about full-time and nighttime retainers.

What are full-time retainers?

Just after you remove your braces or clear aligners, your orthodontist will give you a set of removable or permanent retainers which you will be required to wear full time i.e. at least 22 hours a day. Typically, you have to wear full-time retainers for at least four months to about two years, depending on the severity of your orthodontic issue.

What are night retainers?

After six months to two years, your orthodontist will then give you the go-ahead to switch to nighttime retainers. As the name suggests, you have to wear these night retainers before you go to bed at night. You must wear your nighttime retainers every night so that your teeth and molars are stabilised in their new position and don’t shift back to their original position.

How long will I have to wear a retainer?

You will have to wear your removable or permanent retainers as long as it takes for your teeth to settle in their new position. Generally, this means you have to wear them for a relatively long period of time, oftentimes your entire life if you don’t want your teeth to shift back to their inherent location.

6 easy retainer care tips to remember

Now that you know when to wear full-time retainers and when to switch to night-time retainers, here are some handy tips and hacks to take care of your retainers properly.

  • When you are not using them, always keep them in their clean and dry case.
  • Always remove them before you eat anything.
  • Remove them even when you are chewing gum.
  • Keep your retainers away from your pets.
  • Avoid exposing your retainers to extremely hot temperatures otherwise, they will melt. This means you must never leave them in your car or next to the stove.
  • Always brush and floss before wearing your retainers.

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When can I switch to a nighttime retainer?

After the initial two years of getting your braces off, once your orthodontist gives you a nod, you can switch to a nighttime retainer.

Can I wear my retainer 12 hours a day?

After the first three months of wearing your retainers for at least 22 hours a day, your orthodontist might give you the go-ahead to wear your retainers for only 12 hours a day for the next nine to twelve months, depending on the severity of your orthodontic issue.

Is it OK if I don't wear my retainer for 2 nights?

Yes, it is okay if you are not able to wear your nighttime retainer for a day or two but make sure that you don’t make it a habit. This is because if you don’t wear your retainers religiously, your teeth will shift back to their original position.

What happens if you stop wearing a night retainer?

If you stop wearing your night retainer, there is a high probability that you will be back to square one over time. You will have to repeat your orthodontic treatment to get straight teeth again.

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