Most children will need to use a teeth retainer after they are done straightening their teeth with braces. It is important to be aware of this and to learn about ways to properly care for the retainer so that it will last a long time. Keeping that in mind, here are some important facts to consider.
The retainer is an important part of any orthodontic treatment
To move teeth from their starting position to straight alignment takes time and effort. On average, a person will wear braces for two years. The braces gradually move the teeth in order to avoid damaging the roots. Still, two years is a long time to spend improving a person’s smile.
At the end of the treatment, it is important to ensure that all of the work results in teeth remaining in the right position. The best way for us to ensure this is to give patients a retainer to wear. A retainer holds teeth in the correct position so that they could not move back to where they initially started.
How long is a retainer worn?
This depends on the patient. Typically, we will recommend wearing a teeth retainer during the day and night for the first year. Afterward, it may only be necessary to wear a retainer at night while sleeping. Some patients need to wear a retainer at night for the rest of their life, while others only require a retainer for a year or two. We will make a recommendation after we see if a patient’s teeth are staying in place or moving during follow-up examinations.
Types of retainers
There are two main types of retainers. A clear plastic retainer is popular because of how discreet it is. The retainer surrounds the teeth and is difficult, if not impossible to detect. For this reason, many patients prefer this over a traditional retainer.
With this retainer, we will create a base and secure a wire to it. The shape of the wire will surround the front of the teeth and hold them in place. A benefit to this type of traditional retainer is that it is more affordable than a clear plastic one and we can adjust the wire when necessary.
Caring for a teeth retainer
Both types of retainers need proper care. It is important to use a protective case for storage. If someone is removing the retainer while eating, brushing teeth or during the day, they need to store it in a protective case.
Otherwise, it is likely that the retainer will sustain damage. It is also important to rinse the retainer every morning when taking it out. Ultrasonic cleaners or a soft toothbrush can also help to keep it clean.
Learn more about retainers and why they are necessary
If you have additional questions about retention answered, visit our office. We will be happy to answer questions and provide a more in-depth overview on why wearing a retainer is part of any orthodontic treatment.
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