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After the completion of orthodontic treatment, many patients look forward to a future of straight teeth without the need for further appliances. However, the role of a retainer post-treatment is crucial in maintaining those hard-earned results. At Walt Orthodontics, we often encounter questions from patients eager to know if and when they can stop wearing their retainers. Today our article explores the significance of retainers and addresses the common query: “Can I stop wearing my retainer?”

The Importance of Retainers

Retainers are designed to keep teeth in their new, correct positions after braces or clear aligners have done their job. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), wearing a retainer is a vital step in the orthodontic process because teeth can drift back to their original positions over time, a phenomenon known as relapse. Therefore, retainers play a crucial role in ensuring the longevity of orthodontic treatment results.

Permanent vs. Removable Retainers

There are two main types of retainers: permanent (fixed) and removable. Permanent retainers are bonded to the back of the teeth, providing continuous support without the need for patient compliance in wearing them. Removable retainers, on the other hand, require dedication to a prescribed schedule. The decision on which type of retainer is best for you will be made based on your specific needs and lifestyle.

How Long Should You Wear Your Retainer?

The duration for which a retainer must be worn varies from patient to patient. Initially, many orthodontists recommend wearing a removable retainer full-time, except when eating or cleaning, for at least the first few months post-treatment. After this period, the wear time may gradually decrease. However, the Cleveland Clinic suggests that to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back towards their original position, wearing a retainer at night indefinitely is needed.

Can You Ever Stop Wearing Your Retainer?

The straightforward answer is no, not if you wish to maintain your orthodontic results for a lifetime. The teeth have a natural tendency to shift throughout life, whether due to aging, periodontal issues, or the natural growth and changes in the jaw. As such, continuous retainer use is recommended to ensure the stability of your treatment outcomes. It is impossible to predict if someone will have relapse or not. For this reason, we suggest everyone wear their retainers nightly.

Additional Resources on Retainer Maintenance

For more insights on how to care for your retainer and ensure its effectiveness, consider these additional resources:

Personalized Recommendations at Walt Orthodontics

Dr. Walt and our expert team are committed to providing personalized care and guidance on retainer use. During your post-treatment phase, we will recommend a retainer schedule that best suits your individual needs, ensuring your beautiful smile lasts a lifetime.


While it may seem appealing to leave your retainer behind, doing so risks compromising the alignment and spacing that you and your orthodontic team worked hard to achieve. Regular and consistent use of your retainer is the only way to maintain the position of your teeth long-term. At Walt Orthodontics, we are dedicated to supporting you throughout your entire orthodontic journey, including the crucial retention phase. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you preserve your perfect smile.

In-Person Consultation

Use our handy online scheduler below to choose the date and time that works best for your initial complimentary consultation appointment!

Please note that while initial orthodontic consultations are complimentary, if you recently completed orthodontic treatment or currently are in active appliances with another provider, seeking a replacement/repair for a retainer, or looking to schedule a second consult after your initial one there is a fee for the consultation. Please contact us for more information.

Alternatively, please contact our office directly by phone/text if you are trying to book multiple consultations at the same time or are seeking consultation further out than 12 weeks.

Please note – If none of the available times on our online scheduler work for you we do have other consultation times available. Please contact us directly for more information.

Virtual Consultation

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When it comes to financing there’s no one size fits all solution. Likewise, there is no singular solution when it comes to financing. At LendCare, we get that and go deeper to understand your unique story and offer flexible options that work best for you, given your current financial situation. That means you get affordable financing, even if your credit is anything but top-tier.

Walt Orthodontics is pleased to offer interest-free payments up to 30 months. If you require payments over 30 months we are happy to offer the LendCare solution.


Dr. Walt received his dental (DDS) degree from the University of Western Ontario, graduating first in his class and receiving the Gold Medal as well as numerous awards recognizing his scholastic and clinical achievements, leadership and character. He then completed his orthodontic training at the University of Colorado, where he received both his Specialty Certificate and Master of Science Degree. During his residency, he was awarded the Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Scholarship for overall excellence.

After graduating from residency and opening Walt Orthodontics in 2013, Dr. Walt committed himself to applying his traditional orthodontic education into the digital world to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience. He currently serves as a Faculty Member, Key Opinion Leader, and Advisory Board Member for Align Technology which involves traveling around the world to teach other orthodontists about Invisalign. Being at the forefront of digital orthodontics, Dr. Walt was invited to be the first orthodontist in Canada to use custom LightForce braces. He also serves as an Orthodontic Coach/Mentor for other orthodontists looking to improve their knowledge of digital orthodontics.

In addition to practicing orthodontics, Dr. Walt is a “die-hard” Blue Jays fan and enjoys working out in his spare time.


Dr. Stephanie Grossman pursued her dental degree in sunny South Florida at Nova Southeastern University. She graduated with honours, at the top of her class, and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honour Society. She then completed her orthodontic training at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she received both a Specialty Certificate in Orthodontics and a Master of Science degree. She is both a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.

Dr. Grossman strives to provide the highest standard of orthodontic care for her patients. She attends numerous hours of continuing education and utilizes the latest advancements in orthodontics. Dr. Grossman is licensed to practice in both the United States and Canada.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Grossman enjoys spending time with her friends and family and traveling the world. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and loves trying new restaurants!