Orthodontic retainers are custom-made dental appliances that are used to keep the teeth in proper position once the dental braces are removed. They are worn to prevent the shifting of the teeth back to their original, inaccurate position after removing the braces.
If not held in place by a retainer, the teeth can move out of position if they are not held in place by a retainer.
Why do I need to wear a retainer?
When teeth are properly aligned, they are easier to clean, making them healthier overall. Your bone structure also adjusts to the proper position, holding your teeth in place. When we undergo orthodontic treatments like dental braces or Invisalign to align the teeth, wearing retainers is important for the treatment to work effectively and retain the new position of the teeth. Without a retainer, there are chances that the aligned teeth may go back to their original state. So, retainers are recommended until the ligaments and tissues in the mouth get adjusted to the new positioning.
How do I take care of my retainer?
For patients who are wearing a fixed retainer, there are a few best practices to keep in mind. Your retainer is made of durable plastic and is designed to last for several years. However, it can be damaged, so follow the following tips to take care of it.
- Take your retainer out when eating. Avoid eating sticky or hard foods, like candy or gum while wearing your retainer.
- Remove your retainer before brushing your teeth. Brush your retainer with toothpaste before putting it back in your mouth.
- If your retainer is cracked or has holes in it, contact us.
- If you drop your retainer, you should rinse it thoroughly with cold water before placing it back in your mouth.
- If you are due for a dental cleaning and exam, call our dentist to schedule an appointment.
How long do I need to wear my retainer?
After braces or Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to wear your retainer as directed. The length of time you wear your retainer depends on why it was prescribed in the first place.
- Retainers are often prescribed after braces treatment to keep teeth in their new alignment. You’ll need to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. Failure to wear your retainer could result in your teeth shifting back to their old positions.
- If you’ve had a tooth extracted, your dentist may provide you with a retainer to wear after the procedure to help protect your surrounding teeth. You’ll need to wear your retainer as instructed by your dental provider.
Call 34th Street Dental Care at 708-484-6576 to schedule your consultation with our dentists to learn more about our dental treatments.