After wearing braces, your teeth must be properly aligned to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original positions. A retainer is a removable dental device that helps to hold your teeth in place. A retainer is custom-made to fit your mouth. It can keep your teeth from shifting out of place.
The teeth are able to move slightly throughout one's life, and this makes them susceptible to shifting out of place without proper treatment. When braces are removed, the adjustment period begins. Wearing a retainer helps to preserve the results of your orthodontic treatment, encouraging the teeth to stay in their new place while they heal and adjust to their new alignment. This allows the jaw and surrounding muscles to adjust to the new positioning as well, preventing problems such as TMJ disorder from developing.
If you've undergone orthodontic treatment, it's likely that your orthodontist gave you an orthodontic retainer to wear after braces. This is because your teeth need to settle into their new positions after they've been moved into better alignment by your braces and the elastics that help guide movement. (This process is called "orthodontic relapse") Your teeth aren't used to having to work against each other in a newly aligned way, so they'll want to go back into their original position if you don't wear your retainer. Wearing a retainer also helps your gums adapt properly to an exposed portion of your tooth that isn't protected by enamel and gum tissue the way it used to be before the braces were placed.
Proper gum health is a crucial part of maintaining your oral health and keeping your smile looking it's very best!
You should brush your retainer daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaner. Soak the retainer in a cleaning solution like you would with dentures. This will help remove any plaque or food particles. Avoid hot water, as it can distort the shape of the retainer. You should also keep your retainer away from pets, as they love to chew on them. If your retainer does become damaged, call us for a replacement as soon as possible. We don't want you going through treatment all over again!
If you don't wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth may shift out of alignment again. This is why you need to wear it as often as you possibly can. This is the only way to keep that beautiful smile for a lifetime.
We recommend wearing a retainer full-time for the first six months and then at night for the rest of your life. However, your orthodontist may recommend a different wearing schedule for you.
If you have any questions, be sure to contact our office. We're happy to help!