Relapse means that the teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after treatment. If you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, the retention period will be longer.
Usually, retainers are worn for as long a time as you have had your braces. If your teeth move back to their original positions, you may need fixed braces again to correct them.
The safest place for your retainers is in your mouth. If you are not using the retainers they should always be kept in a box. There is a great risk of losing retainers if they are wrapped in tissue paper after you remove them from your mouth.
If you have a removable retainer in your upper jaw, it will take you one to two days to get accustomed to them and speak properly. It is normal to experience a lot of saliva in your mouth with a new retainer.
Always bring the box to store your retainers to be kept should you need to remove them. If you have a fixed retainer, you should spend more time to brush the back of your teeth. You have to brush all around the wire so that calculus will not form. You will be instructed on how to use dental floss with a floss-threader. Do remember not to use your front teeth too for biting hard foods or objects. Fixed retainers do not affect speech.
From 20 to 50 years of age, faces mature and teeth continue to push forward, causing crowding of the lower front teeth. This happens regardless of whether you have had wisdom teeth removed, extractions of teeth or previous orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth.
To avoid the risk of late crowding, removable retainers can be worn at night for a longer period and fixed retainers kept in for more than 2 years.
Adult patients usually sleep with their retainers on for the rest of their lives, if they want their teeth in perfect alignment.