Your Local Palo Alto Orthodontist

Preserving Your Beautiful Smile with a Dental Retainer – Twin Smiles Orthodontics

Dental braces and clear aligners can both help to create the perfect smile by straightening and aligning teeth. After your treatment, a dental retainer will ensure that the results last.

What is a dental retainer, why is it important to wear one, and how long will you have to wear it? Get your questions answered and book your consultation for orthodontic treatment at Twin Smiles Orthodontics today.

What is a Dental Retainer?

After the conclusion of your orthodontic treatment with braces or a clear aligner, a dental retainer will hold your teeth in their new positions. It’s a custom-made removable appliance developed just for your smile. The dental retainer can be made following several designs, with the most common using a plastic plate that sits at the roof of the mouth, attached to a thin metal wire bar that rests against the fronts of teeth. There are variations, such as permanent retainers that are affixed behind teeth, and clear plastic retainers that are made of transparent plastic that fits closely over the teeth and prevents them from moving.

The underlying purpose of a dental retainer is always the same regardless of whether your orthodontic treatment was with braces or clear aligners. The retainer will hold the teeth in position to preserve the orthodontic work that has been done. Retainers are a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment because it takes time for your teeth to adjust to their new locations after they have been moved. The ligaments around our teeth are elastic and tend to try to pull the teeth back to their previous positions unless they have something holding the teeth in place. Until those elastic ligaments have completely stabilized and remodeled, your teeth can snap back quickly to their crooked positions. That’s why your orthodontist recommends full-time retainer wear initially after your braces or Invisalign are removed and then nightly thereafter.

How Long Will You Need to Wear a Teeth Retainer?

Dental retainers are also known as teeth retainers, which is good to know as you research your options for orthodontic care. One of the most common questions people have about teeth retainers is how long they will need to wear them after orthodontic treatment.

The answer varies between individuals. The length you will wear a teeth retainer depends on your unique needs. Most patients wear a teeth retainer full-time during the day and night, for the first few months after having braces removed. The retainer will be critical during this time as teeth stabilize and adjust to their new locations following orthodontic treatment.

After this period, there’s a transition where the teeth retainer will only be worn during the day or evening, or for a certain number of hours. Long-term use will ensure that teeth remain in position and healthy. Failing to use a retainer could undo all the work done during orthodontic treatment.

Do You Need an Invisalign Retainer?

If you’ve had Invisalign treatment rather than braces, you will still need a retainer. An Invisalign retainer offers all the same benefits. It will keep your teeth in alignment, especially in the critical stage where you stop wearing a clear plastic aligner all day.

The Invisalign retainer can be made from the same materials as a retainer for braces. We offer both clear transparent retainers as well as plastic and metal retainers (Hawley Retainers) and the recommendation by the orthodontist for which one is best for you will depend on each case.

An Invisalign retainer will be needed for as long as it is prescribed by your orthodontist. The first few months will be critical, after this, you can wear an Invisalign retainer less frequently. If you don’t make use of an Invisalign retainer, your teeth could move out of position, causing dental problems and the need for more orthodontic treatment.

What Happens When You Don’t Wear a Retainer After Invisalign or Braces?

We’ve covered why you should wear a retainer after Invisalign or braces treatment. We’ve also touched on the complications that could arise if you don’t wear a retainer. Let’s expand on that a little…

If you don’t wear a retainer after Invisalign or braces, you will experience consequences. The most common is that teeth can move back to their original positions if you don’t use a retainer after Invisalign or braces. This is known as a relapse, and it can be costly because you will need to undergo the orthodontic treatment process again. Retainers are vital for maintaining the alignment of your teeth after you have completed your orthodontic treatment. Wearing a retainer after Invisalign or braces will protect the investment you’ve made while also ensuring the health of your smile.

We recommend you continue to wear a retainer after Invisalign or braces initially full-time and then switch to nighttime only. Don’t worry, you will never be wearing a retainer all day forever. We will let you know when it is the right time for you to switch to nighttime retainer wear.

Begin Your Orthodontic Treatment at Twin Smiles Orthodontics

If you need a new retainer after treatment, call our office for a quick and comfortable 3D digital impression of your teeth to get a brand-new set. And be quick before your teeth start drifting! If your relapse cannot be corrected with a retainer alone, Invisalign may be just what you need. A series of a few clear aligners can gently put your teeth back into alignment.

If you’re ready to begin the consultation process for orthodontic treatment, you can start with the team at Twin Smiles Orthodontics. We provide exceptional care that is detailed and compassionate. With our specialists, we can recommend the most effective treatments for your unique needs. Book your appointment today, learn more about braces and retainers, and look forward to a new and perfect smile.

Why Patients Choose Us

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The twin doctors Stoker at Twin Smiles Orthodontics are truly dedicated to achieving amazing lifelong smiles. They take the time to listen to your unique concerns and goals.

- Adam F.
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Thanks to Dr. Amelia, my jaw surgery was exceptional. Skilled surgeons and a caring team ensured a smooth, successful procedure, transforming my smile and boosting self-esteem.

- Avery S.
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Dr. Sydney made my braces journey a breeze! From the friendly staff to the expert orthodontists, I felt at ease throughout the entire process. Now, my smile is straight and confident!

- Jordan P.


We would love to meet you in person or virtually! Please fill out the form below or give us a call at (650) 331-1171 to schedule your first appointment. We look forward to seeing you here!

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