21st March 2016
Why wearing a retainer is a must after orthodontic braces
Wearing orthodontic braces or aligners is an investment in your time and money that takes patience and trust in your orthodontist as you wait for the final results. What’s surprising is the number of people who risk this investment by choosing not to wear a retainer or follow their retention plan once their treatment has ended.
Your teeth have had years in their starting position, so it makes sense that they will need some help to stay in their new, straighter arrangement. Without the support of a retainer to keep them in line, your teeth may well stray back to their original placement.
How long do you need to wear a retainer after braces?
Every case is different, so how long you need to wear your retainer will depend on factors such as your age and the complexity of your treatment.
Initially, you may need your retainer during the day too – this can be for six months or more as the soft tissues and bone around your teeth adjust to their new position and your teeth become more stable. For some people, especially teens who’ve had orthodontic braces, it might only be necessary to wear the retainer at night for a few years after the initial stabilisation period. However, as an adult, we may recommend that you wear your retainer indefinitely during the night to keep your teeth in the right place.
Will people be able to see you’re wearing a retainer?
You may be given a retainer that’s a clear, removable aligner, or your orthodontist may recommend a fixed wire retainer, a lot like an orthodontic brace, that’s attached behind your teeth so that no-one knows you’re wearing a retainer. Both options are incredibly discreet.
Does a retainer need special care?
If you have a fixed retainer, you will need to take special care to clean around the wires and brackets at the back of your teeth to prevent tooth decay. If your dentist recommends that you wear a removable retainer, you should brush your teeth after you eat to keep your retainer clean, prevent staining and protect your teeth from tooth decay.
Will I keep needing to see an orthodontist?
It’s important that you continue to attend regular check-ups so that we can not only keep an eye on your oral health, but also check that your retainer is doing its job and your teeth are staying in alignment.
If you have any questions about your retention plan, do speak to your orthodontist to ensure that you can enjoy your straighter smile to the full.