Getting orthodontic braces removed is an orthodontic milestone but the journey doesn’t end there. You must follow up the braces with retainers and it is a necessity, not an option. Let’s see why.
What are Retainers for?
You can blame genetics for crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. If you don’t use a retainer after braces, the genetics will come into play again and the teeth will revert to the way they were before the orthodontic treatment. If you ignore the retainer, an orthodontic relapse will occur which might require extensive treatment to fix. The teeth will shift in the years following braces removal, but their extent of shifting will depend on how regularly you wear the retainers.
5 Reasons Why Retainers are Important
Stabilizes the Bite
Once the braces are removed, the soft tissues and bone need time to adapt to the changes made in tooth positioning. They slowly stabilize in their new arrangement, and once that occurs, the likelihood of relapse or having the teeth shift out of their positions is minimal. Wear retainers for at least 12 to 22 hours each day, for at least two months, to prevent a relapse.
Maintains Space for Wisdom Teeth and New Teeth
Braces are most commonly worn by preteens and teenagers, whose bodies are still developing. So, they would use retainers for teeth around the same time when wisdom teeth erupt. When they use the retainer diligently, the patients will maintain the necessary space in their jaw to accommodate new teeth like wisdom teeth. Constant use of retainers ensures that the teeth don’t shift or crowd due to lack of space.
Prevents Treatment Reversal
The teeth will start moving back to their old position in the months following the removal of braces. By wearing a retainer every night for at least several months, you can prevent this reversal. However, depending on their case, some patients may be required to wear a retainer for a couple of years.
Aligns Bones with the Gums
When the teeth are being aligned to a new position, the gums and bones surrounding the teeth will take longer to follow suit. Retainers help in accelerating alignment and stabilizing your bite.
Helps Teeth Hold Their Position
If you use braces to correct the gaps in the teeth, it will take a longer time for the teeth to stabilize. This can hold true even for severely displaced teeth, large overbites and underbites. It is important to hold the teeth, which need to be moved a considerable distance or repositioned significantly and firmly in their new spaces until the mouth can adapt to these changes. The retainer helps in achieving this.
Tips for Wearing Retainers after Braces
- Have a rigorous home care routine, just like you would have with braces
- Follow instructions carefully regarding wearing, cleaning and storing the retainer
- Use sore rinse in case of mouth irritation due to orthodontic wires or a new retainer
- Keep the retainer clean and fresh. Use toothpaste and toothbrush to rinse it off
The success of the orthodontic treatment depends upon your ability to diligently wear a retainer. If you experience any issues with your retainers or if you would like to discuss retainer options with us, get in touch with us today!
Dr. Brian Thurman has spent his entire life enjoying all the beauty that California has to offer. A Fresno native, he still escapes to the ocean or the mountains whenever his busy schedule allows. Driven by his love for natural beauty, Dr. Thurman enjoys creating beautiful smiles and healthy bites that last a lifetime. He is proud to be the only Ivy League trained Orthodontist in the Fresno/Clovis area.