Retainers are absolutely required after your braces are removed. Retainers play a very important role in the results of your orthodontic treatment! Retainers keep your teeth set in their new position and prevent them from shifting back to their old positions, known as a relapse. Once your teeth are in the right position and the work of the braces is complete, retainers do the job of keeping your teeth in that new correct position. Depending on your treatment plan, you may need to wear retainers 24/7 for a period of time after braces come off or you may only need to wear them when sleeping.
You may have a permanent or fixed retainer bonded to the teeth for a period of time as well as removable retainers. Permanent retainers help gums and bone tissue to align with the newly corrected bite created by your braces, a process that can take a much longer time to complete than the part of treatment you spend actually wearing braces. For some people, it can take not just months but YEARS for the gum and bone tissue to be completely stabilized in the new position!
How long will you need to continue to wear your retainers while sleeping? FOR LIFE!
Throughout your entire life, your teeth can shift a little bit every single day! While this capability of teeth to move is what makes orthodontic treatment possible, it is also what can undo the corrections made by your braces. Even I made the mistake of not wearing my retainers faithfully and had to have braces a second time at the age of 26! I know first-hand that the only way to keep your smile and your teeth aligned in the position achieved by your orthodontic treatment is life-long faithful adherence to wearing your retainers.