This is a commonly asked question as patient are overjoyed when braces are removed at the end of their treatment plan. So why do I have to wear a retainer right after?
Retainers are needed to hold your teeth into their new positions. After your braces are removed, teeth position will creep out as there is nothing holding them in place anymore. Your bone and teeth tissues need time stablised into their new position which takes up to a year.
Straight after treatment, you'll wear retainers, full-time every day for the first 6 months. The first month is very important as you have a higher risk of relapse meaning it'll take more time to stablise after treatment and you'll have to wear your retainers for longer period of time. After six months, retainers can be worn at night time for a few more years.
As with braces, it takes time to get used to your new retainers. After a month, the discomfort and difficulty in speaking will pass by so don't get discouraged.
Will retainers last a lifetime? No, but it can take a few years to 10 years depending on the type of retainer and the condition of your teeth/gums. Keep in mind, as we grow older, our faces mature and the teeth will continue to push forward. Adult patients tend to wear retainers for the rest of their life to keep their perfect smile.
So is it worth slacking in wearing your retainers? No. You've made the investment for a perfect smile and endured throughout the treatment plan. Wear your retainers to keep the perfect smile that you've always wanted.