Using retainers after receiving orthodontic care is an important part of the treatment process. An orthodontist will work with their patients to help them get their teeth as straight as possible. However, when braces are removed, your teeth may want to go back to their original position.
The only way that you can stop this from happening is to support your teeth with a retainer as they become accustomed to their new position. You will need to wear your retainer faithfully to have the desired effect.
Tooth Movement is Normal
Everybody, including individuals who have not had orthodontic treatment, will experience some tooth movement during their lifetime. This is most commonly seen in the front teeth. However, movement can be minimized or eliminated by wearing a retainer on a long-term basis.
It is recommended that after you have your braces removed you continue to wear your retainer at night for a minimum of two years. Once the initial two-year period has passed, most dentists will recommend that their patients continue to use their retainer on an occasional basis.
Occasionally inserting the retainer in your mouth after the initial two years following orthodontic treatments will allow you to gauge if any tooth movement has occurred.
It is recommended that you bring your retainer with you when you have dental appointments. This will allow your orthodontist to adjust the way it fits in your mouth if this is necessary.
If a retainer is lost or if it is damaged, you will need to have it replaced. Remember, not wearing a retainer even for just a short period of time can undo the work done by years of wearing braces.
Types of Retainers
Retainers can be broken down into two styles. There is a traditional, removable retainer, which is made with acrylic and a wire. These come in different designs and different colors.
Then there is a clear retainer that overlays your teeth. They are very comfortable to wear, and in addition to keeping your teeth in their proper position, they protect the surface of your teeth if you have the habit of clenching or grinding.
Retainer and Oral Health Care
While wearing a retainer, it is essential that you maintain good oral health habits. This means that immediately after removing a retainer in the morning, brush your teeth and floss.
If plaque buildup develops on your retainer, bring it to your orthodontist to have it cleaned.
It is not recommended to use denture cleaning products on your retainer. This will cause the joints that have been soldered together to dissolve, and you will eventually need to replace your retainer.
When the retainer is not being used, it should be stored in its case. Avoid exposing your retainer to direct sunlight, and do not use boiling water or a microwave to clean them.
Failing to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatments can result in all of that time and expense going down the drain. For more information, contact Runnels Orthodontics today.