Many people ask their dentists, "Will I need a retainer after getting braces off?". The answer is nearly always positive. Almost everyone will need to use one type of retainer after braces.

Many patients who had braces 30 years ago can tell you that they did not have the same level of coverage as current patients. There was no alternative, like a permanent retainer, so when they stopped using their detachable retainer at night, some of their teeth slipped out of position.

What Does a Retainer Do After Orthodontic Treatment?
A retainer serves the crucial function of keeping your teeth in place. When braces are removed for the first time, teeth tend to return to their previous positions. While wearing braces, the gums and fibrous ligaments that hold teeth become loose. When braces are removed, the gums do not contract for a while, allowing teeth to move around freely. Wearing a retainer full-time will help keep your teeth in place while the gums heal. After a few months, your orthodontist may advise you that you can stop wearing your retainer during the day but maintain it at night.

Many people want to know if they can ever quit using a retainer. It depends. The recommended duration to use a retainer after braces varies depending on the type of treatment received. It is quite usual for most people to notice little changes in tooth alignment as they age, and the alterations vary greatly from person to person and cannot be predicted. These alterations can be mitigated by continuing to wear your retainers part-time.

Do Need a Retainer After Braces If You’re Adult?
All patients, regardless of age, require a retainer after having their braces removed. However, the amount of time you need to wear a retainer can vary according to your age.

If a patient wears braces as an adult, their teeth are more likely to move than if they had braces as a child or adolescent. Adult teeth tend to return to their original place more quickly than children's teeth. Bone and fibrous attachments to teeth are stronger in adults than in children, increasing the likelihood of relapse.

What to Expect When Wearing a Retainer?
If you've had braces, wearing a retainer should be simple. A retainer is more comfortable on your cheeks than your braces' brackets, and there should be no pain because your teeth are not pulled into position as braces do. However, like braces, a retainer can take some getting accustomed to.

The retainer rests behind your teeth, where your tongue is, thus it can affect your speech. You may need to slow down your speaking and practice reading aloud for a few days to figure out how to talk without slurring. It won't take long to become used to speaking while wearing your retainer. A retainer can also cause increased saliva production, however this subsides with time as your mouth adjusts to having the retainer.

What Happens if You Don’t Wear a Retainer After Orthodontic Treatment?
Getting your braces off is not the end of your orthodontic treatment. Your retainer is the final stage, and the maintenance phase might last considerably longer than your braces treatment.

Your teeth have a remarkable memory for where they used to sit and will go to great lengths to return there. A retainer helps your teeth form a new memory of where they should be. The initial three to six months following your braces or Invisalign treatment are important. This is when your teeth are most likely to shift backward. During this time, you should wear your retainer for at least 22 hours every day to allow your teeth to settle. Once your orthodontist is satisfied, they may instruct you to wear the retainer exclusively at night.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.