woman wearing teeth retainer

July 7, 2015

Do I Really Need to Wear Retainers for the Rest of My Life?

Our patients regularly tell us they are surprised to learn they have to wear retainers for the rest of their lives. We wanted to offer a little scientific insight about why retainers are a necessary part of your orthodontic treatment.


In order to learn why it is recommended to wear retainers for the rest of your life, you have to know a few things about tooth movement.


First – The roots of your teeth are held in place by fibrous tissue that stretch and adapt while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Second – Some of these fibers remodel and adjust to their new position after orthodontic treatment is complete, but not all.

Third – This means that fibers that do not remodel try to spring back to their original positions, bringing the teeth with them. Without the braces or retainers to hold them in place, relapse occurs.


Many people who do not wear retainers after their braces are removed mistakenly think their teeth are not moving over time simply because they do not see obvious changes in the position of their teeth. The fact is for many people, teeth move very slowly. By the time relapse is noticed, it is often too late to do anything other than braces or retainers to fix it.


Think of stretching a rubber band. The longer you hold the rubber band in its stretched position, the less prone it is to return to its original position. However, by nature, it will always have a tendency to snap back. It is due to the nature of the fibrous tissue that Dr. Peralta recommends wearing retainers, at least at night, for the rest of your life. It is the only way to ensure that your teeth will not move back and create the need for orthodontic treatment again.


Remember, you only have to wear retainers for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight!