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If you have successfully worn braces and have had your braces removed, congratulations! Now your teeth are straighter than ever and your smile is healthy and beautiful. Once your brackets and wires are removed, your teeth will slowly move back to where they were before unless you wear something that will remind them of their new position. For you this means wearing a retainer is the next part of your orthodontic procedure. What types of retainers are there?

— A fixed retainer is where a metal wire is bonded to your teeth to keep them in alignment. Typically this is done on the inside of your anterior teeth, the ones most susceptible to shifting after braces removal. And we want to stabilize your teeth in their new position.

–A removable retainer is a custom-made plastic retainer with wire which rests on the roof of your mouth or upper arch (such as a Hawley retainer) or lies along the tongue side of the teeth (for the lower arch). It can also be a clear aligner type of mouthpiece that fits comfortably and snugly over your teeth.

So how long will you have to wear your retainer? You will likely wear your retainer longer in the first 3-6 months after your orthodontic treatment, and then transition to nighttime only until about a year of continuous wear. After that, you may be asked to wear your retainer 3-5 days a week for several years, if you are younger. If you are an adult who just wore corrective braces, you may need to wear your retainers at night for the rest of your life.

To maintain your beautiful smile, be sure to wear your retainer as determined by your orthodontist. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the wearing of your retainer. To speak with a member of our dental team or to schedule a visit with Dr. Jason Howell, please call our Howell Orthodontics team in Meridian, Idaho at 208-893-5151 today!