Breaking News

  • Playground on Ice

    Enjoy art in the ice, ice games, a CAPS kids hockey shootout zone, and more…


The Function of Retainers After Braces

Check out more posts from Barakat Orthodontics

Barakat Orthodontics

Dear Dr. Barakat,

What is the function of a retainer after braces? I thought once I got my braces off I was done. Why do I have to wear one?

– Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,

Orthodontists understand that it can be frustrating to wear a retainer after having your braces removed. We get it, we really do! But there are several good reasons to wear your retainer, and it’s important to follow your orthodontist’s guidelines so that you can keep your smile ready to show off!

Your smile looks great, you’ve spent months (or sometimes years) wearing braces, and you are definitely ready to have the teeth straightening process be over. Wearing your retainer according to your orthodontist’s recommendations is the final stage in that process. There are several reasons for this:

After your braces are removed, your teeth will want to shift right back to their old position. It will take time for the tissue and bones around your teeth to heal correctly and help keep your teeth in their new position. Your retainer will prevent your teeth from shifting out of alignment. If you don’t wear your retainer, there is a possibility that your teeth will shift back, and you will have to wear braces again to re-align them.

Another reason to wear your retainer according to directions is that as you get older, your jaw and teeth may shift. There are several reasons this might occur. Shifting is part of the normal growth and aging process and wearing your retainer will help keep your teeth aligned so that the shifting doesn’t affect your smile. Also, having teeth extracted or habits such as grinding and clenching your teeth, chewing on hard objects like pens, hard candy, etc, may cause shifting that your retainer can help prevent.

Your orthodontist will give you guidelines about wearing your retainer. You may have to wear it continuously for several months after your braces are removed, or you may have to wear it only at night for a few hours. Following those guidelines now will help you keep the smile you worked so hard to achieve, and you will stay ready to show it off!

– Dr. Barakat


Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment. As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children in giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect with them by clicking: OnlineFacebookTwitter, and calling: (703) 433-9330. Download their free app: iTunesGoogle Play.

Related Articles

Moving Mid-Treatment?

Moving in the middle of orthodontic treatment can be a concern…

Solution For a Gap in My Front Two Teeth?

Closing a gap between the front teeth is a common request. After an orthodontic examination, your orthodontist can determine which option will work best…

Can I Get My Teeth Straightened Quickly?

We have excellent options and new technology to straighten your teeth more quickly…

What Colors Would You Like On Your Braces?

Starting your orthodontic treatment is a very special moment…

Does My Child Have to Get Her Teeth Pulled for Treatment?

Taking out teeth for braces was very common years ago. Nowadays, we have other options…

Does My Child With Braces Still Need to See a Dentist?

Regular cleanings and cavity check-ups with your dentist will keep your mouth healthy…