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Should I Wear My Retainer Fulltime?

I had braces several years ago and had a retainer that I wore full time for a month and then was supposed to go to just overnight. Then, I stopped wearing it for a while. As a result, I ended up having a relapse of my teeth shifting. My dentist said I could either redo my orthodontics or just go back to wearing my retainer. I ended up wearing my retainer full time again. The problem I’m having is, even after two years of this, when I take the retainer out my teeth begin shifting again within just a few hours. This back and forth cannot be good for my teeth. Am I paranoid? Do I need to wear this retainer full time for the rest of my life?


Dear Elena,

An Essix RetainerIt is common, in fact required, for patients to wear a retainer after braces. Generally, this is on a short term basis. Your case seems to be a bit more complicated. As far as the movement goes, you are not being paranoid. The back and forth is definitely not good for your teeth. While I do not know why your teeth are shifting after just a few hours, I can tell you it would be better for you to wear a retainer full time to prevent this.

You actually have a couple of options that will allow you to have a beautiful smile without feeling self conscious about wearing a retainer during the day.

Essix Retainers

Your first option is to get an Essix Retainer. This is a clear retainer and allow you to keep it on without anyone even knowing you have a retainer on. They will typically last about two years, but are not very expensive.

Permanent Retainers

Your second option is a permanent retainer. These are bonded to the insides of your teeth. No one will even see them. The downside to these have more to do with your oral health. It will be more challening to keep the area with the retainers clean. You will also need a floss threader to enable you to floss around the retainer.

There is no wrong choice here. It is just your personal preference.

This blog is brought to you by Bee Cave Orthodontist Dr. Alberto Tostado.