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Are orthodontic retainers really for life?















Article Contributed by

Shannon Husted

Practice Administrator,

Messenger Orthodontics



Are retainers really for life? The answer is YES. If you want your teeth straight, then you need to wear your retainers, for LIFE. Does that mean 24/7 for the rest of my life? No, some people wear them every night, some a few times a week, but if you want your teeth straight you should wear your retainers.


As a treatment coordinator I cannot tell you how many times a week I hear someone say, “I had braces as a teenager but now my teeth have moved back.” A few decades ago, we were told to wear our retainers for the first two years. Now we know that teeth continue to move throughout our lifetime, thus making retainer wear that much more important. There are many factors as to why your teeth may have started shifting again. Aging, grinding and/or clenching your teeth, genetics and even your tongue are all possible causes that can cause tooth movement.


At Messenger Orthodontics our protocol for retainers after orthodontic treatment is 24 hours a day for the first 6 months, then night time wear for as long as you want straight teeth. As important as it is to wear your retainers, regular retainer check appointments are just as vital. Retainers can bend or distort, so having them checked and ad-

justed on a 6-month interval is key. Dr. Messenger believes that once you are a patient, you are always a patient so she will check/adjust your retainer for life if you are wearing it regularly, free of charge. She is committed to your investment as well. If you are one of those people that has experienced relapse with your teeth, it’s not too late. The number of adults in some type of orthodontic treatment is higher than ever. We have a variety of options to offer our patients. Depending on what your needs are and your de-

sired outcome there are many options available such as clear braces, inside (lingual) braces and Invisalign.


Are you thinking that you are too old for treatment, I say NO WAY! My mother was 62 when I finally convinced her to get treatment and she is so happy that she did it. Dentists want your teeth straight because it’s easier to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It’s never too late to give yourself the SMILE you deserve. But remember, you will need to wear those retainers for LIFE!

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