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Patient Information Center > Aligners and Retainers in New York City

Retainers instructions after aligners treatment

CONGRATULATIONS on completing the active phase of your orthodontic treatment. Your effort and investment has resulted in a great smile.

Because teeth constantly shift and tend to return to their original position, orthodontic relapse is lifelong concern. The retainers are to be worn full time, (that is minimum 22 hours a day, remove only to eat drink or brush your teeth), for the first two month of use.  After the first two month, wear the retainers all the time you are at home (that is in the evenings, during sleep and on the weekends when you are at home), for another 2 months. After the first 4 months wear the retainers only when you go to sleep.

Timing summary:

  • Month 1 and 2: Full time wear of retainer
  • Month 3 and 4: All the time you are home
  • Month 5 and beyond: When sleeping
  • You must wear retainers every night for the first year.
  • After the first year, you can revert to wearing them every other night, provided that they are lose and fitting well.  If not, if they still feel very tight, please continue to wear them every night. 

Replace Your Retainers

Retainers should be replaced frequently because they tend to lose firmness and get stained with time. After time, the retainers become too flexible.

There are 4 reasons for periodically changing to a new retainer:

    1. They get lost
    2. They start looking very stained
    3. They feel too loose and can be easily removed by the tongue
    4. If dental work is performed, (fillings, crowns, extractions) a new retainer may be needed. 
  • If retainers or lingual bars are lost or broken they should be replaced immediately.
  • It is your responsibility to monitor tooth position and to order future retainers.  
  • Please be faithful in wearing your retainers and store them safely when you are not wearing them. Extra retainers should be stored in a dry, non-humid environment away for any heat source (not in the bathroom or kitchen).
  • Being inconsistent in your retainer wear will cause relapse and the return of misalignment of teeth.

For maintenance check our “How to care for clear aligners, clear retainers and occlusal guards”.