Retainers are an essential part of dental treatment. Tailored to each patient’s needs, they ensure the great, exciting results you get once the braces come off can be maintained in the long term.
While there is a lot written about braces and other straightening solutions, little is known about retainers and their importance. Here are a few common questions our patients ask about them.
Why wear a retainer?
Braces can be a big investment, and generally produce amazing results. However, seeing all this effort and a beautiful smile unaligned would be a waste of time and money.
Retainers maintain the position of your teeth post treatment to prevent relapse. It can take a little while for the muscles supporting bone and gum to adapt to the new supporting position, and a retainer can be very helpful during the transition period.
What are the different kinds?
Retainers are custom-made so they are comfortable and effective. This is usually done by creating a mould of your teeth as a template to produce it.
The same way you can pick different types of braces, there is a variety of retainers you can choose from. Some are more discreet than others, some removable and others permanently attached behind front teeth.
Ultimately, it will depend on a variety of things such as the type of treatment you had, age, etc. The best way to choose is to discuss your options with your dentist.
How long will I need to wear it?
At first, you’ll probably need to wear it 24 hours a day, although this varies according to each patient’s needs. In some cases, you might need to wear it for long time periods.
Typically, after a while you may only have to wear retainers for a few hours a day – patients often end up wearing them at night only.
What if I don’t wear it?
You can probably guess. If you stop wearing your retainer for a long period of time, it’s likely it won’t fit next time you wear it. Although it might not be visible at first or even in the long term, but your teeth will keep moving because they haven’t had a chance to settle post treatment.
Eventually, it may become noticeable and you may need to go back to your orthodontist for more treatment. Not worth it.