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How long will I have to wear my retainer?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Since removable retainers can be taken out, patients frequently ask how long they need to wear the retainer. Most relapse, or unwanted tooth movement, occurs in the first 3-6 months after the braces are removed. For the average patent, you will wear your removable retainer full-time for the first 3-6 months, and thereafter only while sleeping. If your orthodontist recommends a period of time longer or shorter than this, he or she is protecting your smile. For example, a patient with severely misaligned jaws and teeth might wear retainers for a longer duration than a patient with only minor tooth-alignment problems. If you are unsure of your retention program, be sure to ask your orthodontist or orthodontic assistant for specific instructions regarding the wear and care of your retainers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.