Removable retainer, how long?

If you have finished with your orthodontic treatment and are wearing retainers (or will be soon), this is a special place to connect with others in your (enviable) situation. Ask a question or make a comment about life post-braces.

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Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:01 am

Removable retainer, how long?

#1 Post by Verena »


I read that in some cases when people get debraced the discovered that they are supposed to wear a removable retainer (Hawley or Essix) 24/7 for a period between 6 and 12 months??? Is this so common? This is not a nice news to get to know they day you get debraced and you think that everything is now over (at least during the day...).
For me night only would be ok, but after having been in braces for 18 months (this is what my ortho told me), I won't be happy to extend my treatment by many other months...

Happy to hear your experience. I heard also that permanent retainer are not great as you can't floss your teeth...

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Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#2 Post by Snowglobe32 »

I wore mine all day except for eating for the first 6 to 9 months then I went to night time wear. I have just reached my 1 year mark and I am back to wearing as much as possible simply because I choose to keep my teeth in proper position.

The time out of braces goes really fast so 6 to 12 months is nothing really compared to the time you wore braces. What did your ortho recommend?

If you want your teeth to retain their proper position, you will need to wear retainers for the rest of your life, less wear time over time of course...

You may want to ask your ortho about a positioner if you don't want to wear a retainer 24/7.

It is a super heavy duty mouth guard like retainer that will keep your teeth in place forever because there are all sorts of measurements taken when you are fitted for one.

The initial wear is as much as possible for the first 3 days then you go to just night time wear. It will keep your teeth in proper positioner if you stop wearing it for a while then go back to wearing it.

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Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#3 Post by samoorelaw »

Goes to show how every ortho is different. My ortho advised me to wear my retainers 24/7 except when eating and brushing for only 3 months, after which time I switch to wearing them for only 10 hours per day. I think I'm going to wear mine longer than 3 months full-time because everything I read says 6-12 months is optimal. Also, I'm beginning to not trust my ortho as much as I did because my molars are not touching so my braces were removed too early: I did not even realize they weren't touching until my dentist the next day during my exam told me that they weren't.

When I went to my ortho the day after this to ask him why they weren't touching, his only response was, "well I could have sworn they were touching when your braces were removed." Um, how can you NOT know that?! You're the expert and there is NO WAY that my molars moved in just one day. :-=

So the ortho will be fashioning attachments to my Hawley retainers that will allow me to wear elastics on those back teeth to try to close the gaps. So suffice it to say that I am NOT happy.
Braces removed for 3rd and final time July 14, 2016!!!!

Permanent 8 crowns front 8 teeth (upper) January 30, 2015

Braces removed again December 3, 2014!!

Partial braces re-installation September 25, 2014

Braces removed September 4, 2014!





Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:01 am

Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#4 Post by Verena »

...I understand it is important to wear the retainer as much as possible to keep the result BUT 24/7 for 3-6-9 months it is really a lot... especially because a removable retainer is affecting the speech...
That's really bad... I would go for a permanent retainer, but this is not recommended by many dentists...

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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#5 Post by TMJJill »

I got my retainers the same day I was de-braced. I wore them 24/7 for the first month, then nighttime only since. Interestingly enough, my retainers don't actually cover my molars, just the front 6/8. (I understand I'm unique with this approach, but it has worked for me now for 11 months, 3 weeks. My 1 year de-brace-aversary is in 3 days. :D )

I do have an upper nighttime retainer that is mostly full-arch that had some acrylic added to turn it into a sleep splint that holds my lower jaw forward. Very innovative way to keep me from having to pay another $450 for a new sleep splint when the braces came off and it works the same as the old one did.

I wore a repositioning splint 24/7 for 26 months and was in braces for 26 months prior to removal so the retainers aren't all that bothersome to me. The biggest difference was with the repositioning splint I ate with it in and with the retainers 24/7 I had to take the retainers out to eat. Certainly not fun if you are out in public as an adult, but doable. It wasn't forever. Speech does get better. I promise.

Braces as Phase II treatment for TMJD.
Lower mandibular repositioning splint 26 months.
Lower braces on 10.75 months into Phase II treatment.
Duration in braces: 2 years, 2 weeks, 5 days
Removal of Braces: September 18, 2013

TMJD treatment now complete!

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Location: UK

Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#6 Post by jem »


I would say that in the overall process of having your teeth straightened, wearing retainers 24/7 at first is no big deal. But adhering to your retention regime is absolutely essential or your teeth WILL move back. It is particularly important to have 24/7 retention in the period after your braces come off. If you are not prepared to live with this, I would advise against getting braces at all because you will just be wasting your time and money.

It might help you to consider your retainers as being part of your braces treatment just like your brackets and wires. So your treatment plan will be (say) 24-36 months of which 18-24 months will be with fixed braces and 6-12 months with removable braces.

I'm sure you will be able to cope with both braces and retainers. Lots of other people on this board have done/will do.

Best of luck

Sectional brace with Damon clear brackets fitted to front 6 upper teeth 3 January 2012
Brackets added to premolars 2 April 2012
Estimated treatment time originally 6-9 months
. Brace removed on 22 July 2013 after 18 months and 19 days
Now enjoying bonded upper retainer plus part time essix/hawley( I have both)

Click here for my story ... =9&t=42194

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Re: Removable retainer, how long?

#7 Post by SunshineRay »

My treatment was to wear the Essix 24/7 for 2 months and after my appt he said I could start weaning myself off. The end goal is to just wear them at night. Ive been going hours without them and they arent tight when I put them back in. Now this is all through my ortho so I wouldnt follow anyone elses plan.....just ask yours.

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