No, you don't. After you have your braces removed you will be given a retainer to wear for a period of time. It may be just a night time retainer or it may be a day and night, depending on what your orthodontist feels is best for you. Daytime retainers you usually don't have to wear for more than a year or two. Some orthodontists suggest that you wear your night time retainer for years, just to keep your teeth from shifting, but in many cases that is unnecessary.
I had my second set of braces removed when I was 13 years old. I wore a retainer for about 4 months (one I was supposed to wear for at least 2 years), then got fed up with it and threw it in the trash. I am now an adult and while my teeth have moved some, they are still very straight so obviously I did not need that retainer.
There is also what is called a "permanent retainer" that most orthodontists will cement onto the backs of your lower front incisors (the front six teeth on your bottom jaw) to keep them from shifting, since these small teeth are the most likely to shift out of place after braces are removed. This retainer is nothing more than a thin strip of metal wire, anchored to the back of each of your bottom canines and fitted along the backs of all the teeth in between.
After a few days you don't even notice it, and they can stay in your mouth for a lifetime. Sometimes the cement weakens or breaks, in which case an orthodontist will simply re-cement it into your mouth. This is the only permanent sort of retainer you will need after you have your braces removed, though.
Don't be scared, you won't be a metal mouth forever! Like I said, I stopped wearing my retainers after a few months, and I don't even notice the permanent retainer in my bottom teeth. My teeth are still very straight and it's been years since I had any orthodontic work done, so have no fear. Good luck!
· 1 decade ago