The Importance Of Retainers After Braces

Getting braces can drastically improve the appearance of your teeth by positioning them in a nearly perfect line. The success of this type of orthodontic treatment is dependent upon proper care while the braces are in place as well as proper after care. If your orthodontist has fitted you with a retainer, wearing it properly will ensure the success of your overall orthodontic treatment. Here are a few things you need to know about wearing a retainer after braces.

The Purpose Of The Retainer

Braces slowly bring your teeth into the correct formation over time. When they are removed, you should see an improved look for your teeth, but this doesn't mean that the teeth are permanently in place. A retainer helps to keep the teeth aligned while they settle into their new positions in the gums. Failure to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist may cause your teeth to begin to drift back to their original positions. This can reverse the positive results you achieved while wearing your braces.

How Long The Retainers Should Be Worn

The amount of time you'll need to wear your retainers will depend on your unique situation. Typically, the retainers should be worn full time for the first 6 months after your braces come off. After the first 6 months, your orthodontist will likely direct you to wear the retainers only at night for a specified length of time. You may be required to wear a top and bottom retainer, or your orthodontist may direct you to only wear one, depending on your situation.

Getting Used To A Retainer

Just as with braces, it will take some time to get used to wearing retainers. Some top retainers have a palate that sits on the roof of your mouth, which can make speaking difficult at first. Over time, you'll become better at speaking with the retainer in place. You may also feel a bit of discomfort as you begin wearing your retainers, but this will go away with time. Do not stop wearing your retainer for either of these reasons, as you could cause your teeth to move back to their old positions. This could require you to get braces all over again.

Proper Retainer Care

Your retainers need to be cleaned properly to keep your mouth healthy and avoid plaque buildup. You should brush your retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to keep them clean. When you transition to wearing the retainers only at night, let them soak in clean water throughout the day. The plates in the retainers can crack or break if they dry out. Your orthodontist will supply you with a case you can use to safely store your retainers while you eat. You should not wear the devices while eating, as this could lead to breakage.

For more information, contact Family Dentistry Of Woodstock or a similar location.