Wearing Retainers after Braces: How Long Does It Take?

After your braces come off, you will likely need to wear a retainer to maintain your new smile.

The length of time you need to wear a retainer will depend on several factors, including the type of braces you had, the severity of your crowding or spacing, and how well you follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

In general, you can expect to wear your retainer for at least a few months after your braces are removed. This may be as long as a year or two for some people.

If you want to make sure your smile looks its best, follow your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing your retainer. With proper care, you can enjoy your new smile for many years.

What Is a Retainer

A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that helps teeth retain their new position after braces have been removed. The retainer is worn over the teeth to hold them in place and prevent them from moving back to their original position. 

How Braces and Retainers Work Together

Braces work to move teeth into their correct position. Retainers help keep teeth in their new position by holding them in place after braces are removed. Without a retainer, teeth may slowly move back to their original position. This can cause crooked teeth and other orthodontic problems. 

Retainer Types and Length of Time for Wearing Them

There are several types of retainers, and the length of time for wearing them varies. Some common types of retainers are:

Removable Retainer

A removable retainer is a small wire or plastic appliance that sits on the roof of your mouth. It attaches to your teeth with small metal “clasps” or “wings.” You can remove the retainer to eat, brush your teeth, and floss. You need to clean your retainer every day.

  • Wearing Time: Usually, you only need to wear a removable retainer at night. But your orthodontist may tell you to wear it all the time for a few weeks or months, especially if you have had a lot of movement of your teeth.

Fixed Retainer

A fixed retainer is a wire that is permanently bonded to the back of your teeth. A fixed retainer usually consists of a metal wire (stainless steel, titanium, or gold) that is permanently glued to the back of your teeth.

  • Wearing Time: You will need to wear a fixed retainer for as long as your orthodontist tells you to. This may be for several years.


The time period after you have completed active treatment with braces or other appliances but still need to wear a retainer is called retention. The purpose of retention is to hold your teeth in their new, corrected positions until the bones, gums, and muscles adapt to the changes. Without retention, your teeth may slowly move back to their original positions.

To Sum Up

In conclusion, It is important to wear a retainer as directed by your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth remain in their new, corrected position. Depending on the severity of your case, you may need to wear your retainer for a few months to a few years. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to ensure a straight, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

Work with the best Newton orthodontist today here at Waban Dental Group. We offer a full range of dental services. Get in touch with us. 

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