Braces are off or perhaps your Invisalign treatment is complete, congratulations! Now on to retention (retainers) to hold that correction you worked hard to achieve, but how long should you wear retainers? A good rule of thumb? FOREVER.


Really. But not all day/all night FOREVER. For the first 3+ months post completion of treatment, we recommend you wear retainers full time except when eating, brushing or drinking anything except water.

When can I cut back on wear time?

We see patients post band removal at 6 weeks for a check and review, 3 months after that, and then in 3-6 month increments for a total of 2 years. Generally, after that first 3-month check we will give the directive to bedtime wear provided the retainer is fitting well and teeth are retained in their correct position.

How long do I have to wear retainers?

Periodically, for life! As we age, not only do we get wrinkles, lose muscle mass and bone density, but our teeth also shift. Once you ease off nightly wear it will be to your benefit to wear your retainers a few nights a week or month to make sure they still fit and your teeth are aligned.

How long should my retainers last?

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers (Above) can last 5-10 years if taken care of properly.

Clear retainers (Above) fit over the teeth, are much less noticeable but will need to be replaced after a year or two of wear.

A permanent retainer (above) can last quite some time but can trap plaque, are not technically permanent, and can be costly to replace.

Which retainers are best?

That is a personal preference. We lean toward Hawley retainers because they last and are removable. This being said if you or your child KNOW compliance will be an issue, looking into the less noticeable clear retainers or even the permanent retainer may be the best solution.

In closing, it is important to remember that retainers are as important to your total treatment result as wearing the of your braces or Invisalign.

Dr. Callender would be happy to address your retainer or treatment questions and offers complimentary initial orthodontic consultations. Contact us to schedule your appointment at our Littleton office 303-973-7771 or Olde Town Arvada location 303-421-1984.


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