As you or your child’s braces come off, you should be proud of your new smile. Retainers ensure that your hard work and money doesn’t go to waste. They help your smile stay straight long after your braces are removed. Read on to learn more about the importance of retainers, including the benefits they provide after your braces treatment has ended.
What is a Retainer?
A retainer is an orthodontic device designed to help keep your teeth straight after your braces have been removed. They are usually made of durable plastic sometimes with a wire running through them to hold your teeth in the correct position after your braces have been removed.
Without some form of a retainer, the elastic ligaments that attach your teeth to your jaw will naturally move your teeth back to their original positions. You need the right retainer to ensure that your smile stays straight after your braces come off.
What Type of Retainer Should I Get?
There are two main types of retainers—fixed and removable—each with their own advantages. Weigh their separate benefits to determine which you would prefer:
- Fixed retainers. Fixed retainers are bonded to your teeth with a composite material. They are not permanent. They can break if you eat something that knocks them loose.
- Removable retainers. Removable retainers are made from a mold of your teeth. They can be made of durable plastic material or acrylic with a wire. Unlike fixed retainers, they can be removed to eat, brush, and floss. This gives them a clear advantage over fixed retainers. You must follow your orthodontist instructions on how to care and how long to wear them.
Removable retainers need to be worn for at least 20 hours per day in the first 12 months after your braces have been removed. After this period, Dr. Reese will assess the progress of your teeth and determine whether you still need to wear it all the time or if you can switch to a nighttime wearing schedule.
Why Should I Wear My Retainer?
Whether you’re an adult patient or your child has just had their braces removed, you need to know why retainers are important. At Reese Orthodontics, we know that braces are a huge investment in time and money. We want to help you protect that investment.
- Braces that have corrected an overbite, underbite, or misalignment must be supplemented with a retainer to ensure that the treatment remains permanent. Your teeth need time to settle into their new positions. To avoid orthodontic relapse, you must wear your retainer as recommended by your orthodontist.
- Wisdom teeth can cause damage to your second molars as they erupt into the mouth. And sometimes when they erupt, not wearing retainers can affect your orthodontic investment. Discuss the timing of your wisdom teeth extractions with your general dentist or orthodontist. Using a retainer as recommended by your orthodontist can help teens or preteens that have completed their braces treatment maintain their new smile.