Retainers -- length of use

My 15-year-old daughter has a 10mm overbite and has just been assessed for fixed braces to correct this and mild misalignment (unnoticeable to the layman). The orthodontist\'s assistant told us that when the braces came off she would have to wear a retainer every night for ever from then on or else the teeth were likely to move back into place. This seems unusual to me and worrying as it suggests that, for this to be true, the teeth would have to be permanently loosened. Can you advise me on this, please.

Answer: Retainer wear for life.

By Renee Anderson-Upson

Once braces are removed after completing treatment you will receive retainers. The word retainer means that you are retaining the postions of your teeth, holding them in the present positions once braces are removed. This appliance needs to be worn very well during the first 6 months after braces are removed to allow the bone around each root socket to become solid. Usually after 6 months of full time wear one will be able to simply wear retainers at night while sleeping. Generally, after one year of retention patients may skip some evenings and eventually taper down to one night of retainer wear per week. Lip, tongue and cheek muscle pressure may cause teeth to move. This is why continued, life long, retainer wear is recomended.