The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer


Once Dr. Natalia Valderrama, your orthodontist, removes your braces, your new best friends are going to be your retainers. The retainer is what will hold your teeth in their new positions for the long-term. Thus, it’s vitally important that you become accustomed to wearing it. Here’s a look at why it’s so important to wear your retainers after braces.

What’s a Retainer?

It does not matter whether you are wearing clear aligners,  lingual braces, bride braces, engineer braces, invisible braces for adults, or traditional metal-and-wire affordable braces. Once those braces come off at the “end” of the braces treatment phase, you will be given a retainer that you will be wearing for a long time.

We will fit you with a customized retainer that has been molded and designed to perfectly fit your teeth. The retainer is an orthodontic appliance that is crafted in a lab after we digitally scan your “bite” here at Valderrama Orthodontics. We do not take gooey molds of your bite anymore! So there is not gagging at this appointment. Also, since we will have the digital print of your perfect teeth, you can call our office for many years to come and order your retainers by phone or online and  we will ship them to you wherever you are in the world. No need for an office visit.

Why It’s So Important to Wear Your Retainer

You’ve likely worn your braces from one to two years, your teeth have shifted, and now you have that perfect smile you’ve always wanted! You’re all done, right? Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works.

Once a patient’s braces come off, the teeth are going to want to naturally “drift” back to their original locations. If you want to keep that perfect smile and don’t want to let all that hard work of going through braces go to waste, you MUST wear your retainers as directed by Dr. Natalia Valderrama, your orthodontist. If you don’t wear your retainer as often as directed, your teeth can shift out of place very quickly.

How Often to Wear Your Retainer

Most patients are asked to wear their retainer as frequently as possible for the 30 days after the braces are removed.

After the first month or so, you will be able to take the retainer out during the day. However, you will be instructed to continue wearing it every night. You can expect that standard for the next one to three years. Approximately three years after your braces come off, you will likely be able to taper that off to five nights per week.

To truly ensure that the work done by your braces is “permanent,” you will be wearing a retainer indefinitely. It takes a long-term commitment from the patient if they want to keep their teeth (and smile) perfectly straight for years to come.

It’s also really important for us to mention this: If you go away for a weekend vacation — and you forget to take your retainer with you — it’s not the end of the world! A couple of days without wearing it is not going to cause your teeth to shift dramatically. Just don’t make it a habit! It can be a slippery slope if you constantly forget to wear the retainer for a few days. Wear the retainer 24 hours a day for a week and you will repair the damaged done.

Taking Care of Your Retainer

Both the wire and the plastic in your retainer are a bit delicate, so it’s important to take good care of them. If your retainer becomes misshapen, it may have to be replaced with a new one. Follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to caring for your specific type.

Hot water, for example, can cause the plastic in a retainer to start to warp. It doesn’t take very much of a shift in the shape of a retainer to cause it to not fit properly. In fact, the changes in its shape might be imperceptible if you put the retainer in hot water. The only way you’ll know the shape has warped is when the retainer suddenly doesn’t fit correctly.

The metal parts of the retainer can also become misshapen. Accidents like dropping it, or from something as simple as accidentally setting a book on top of it might deform it. If it suddenly does not fit properly, come see us as soon as possible. We can find out if it can be repaired or if you need to order a new one!

Contact Us in Rockledge, Melbourne, or Viera

If you’re thinking about braces to straighten your teeth and give you that perfect smile, it’s never too late! Contact us today to schedule your appointment in one of our three convenient locations. We are now located in Rockledge, Suntree, Melbourne, and soon in Viera.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!