This is the most common question we get from patients after their orthodontic treatment has been completed. The simple answer is that retention (the process of wearing retainers to retain teeth in the final position set with orthodontic treatment) is a life-long process. The reason why retainers need to be worn the rest of a patient’s life is because the teeth and surrounding gum tissue have a memory that never goes away. This memory wants to return the teeth to their original positions prior to orthodontic treatment. Retainers fight this memory and help maintain teeth in the positions set by orthodontic treatment.
In the beginning the retainers are worn more frequently, but this is decreased gradually over time by Dr. Hussaini. Long term, retainers are typically only worn at night while sleeping, and even this, only a couple of nights a week. Even though “life-long” may seem daunting at first, it becomes part of your nightly routine. Just like you don’t think about brushing your teeth as a daunting task the rest of your life, wearing your retainers will become routine as well. And as long as you do this, you will be able to maintain your healthy, beautiful smile forever!