The day is nearly here! You’ve been doing everything right while you’ve had your orthodontic appliance. It doesn’t matter if it was a clear aligner or traditional braces; the end is a relief. It will be a relief to no longer have this device that pulls and pushes at your teeth. The weeks and months of discomfort, orthodontic wax, and keeping track of your appliance are over. Or is it? Once you’ve reached the end of your initial treatment, it’s not quite over. If you want to keep that beautiful smile, you’re going to have to start wearing a retainer.
How A Retainer Helps Maintain Your Beautiful Smile
To understand why retainers are necessary, we must first understand orthodontics. Braces and clear aligners both slowly change dental structures. They adjust the placement of teeth and tendons and affect soft tissue as well. Unfortunately, your body remembers where your teeth were initially, and they want to go back. With the removal of the adjusting device, they’ll start trying to revert.
Enter your hero and village, the retainer. Retainers, as the name implies, retain the position of your teeth. Without consistent wear, your teeth can start moving back. Do this often enough, and you’ll end up at square one. No one wants to go through that process twice, so keep wearing your retainer.
- How Long Do I Have To Wear My Retainer? You probably don’t want to hear this. The answer is “the rest of your life.” Thankfully you can wear it less consistently as time goes on. The first 3-6 months will require nearly constant wear, 22 hours a day. After that, you can stick to wearing it at night for a year. It won’t be necessary during the day anymore. Finally, you can wear it every other night from that point on. Most find it simpler to wear it every night.
- What Types Of Retainer Are There? The three most common types of retainer are Hawley retainers, fixed retainers, and invisible retainers. All of them have their pros and cons. Speak to your dentist to make the right choice for you.
Caring for a retainer isn’t a complicated process. Whenever you’re not wearing it, it goes in a storage container. You’ll want to brush it with toothpaste regularly. Soaking it in baking soda water can help eliminate odor and build-up. Whatever you do, don’t use abrasive chemicals. They can damage the retainer, and replacing them can be costly.
Most importantly, make sure that you remove it before you eat. Food can damage or distort your retainer. Be sure you replace it afterward.
Seek More Information From Your Dental Provider
If you find that you have more questions or concerns about retainers, speak to your dentist. They’re an excellent source of information about all dental topics. With their expertise and knowledge of your oral health, they can help you prepare. We know that retainers can seem difficult or annoying. They’re the only way you can ensure that you keep the beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve.