First braces and now a orthodontics. Having your braces removed was probably one of the highlights of your year. You could not wait to show off your brand new set of straight teeth, and you were looking forward to not having foreign objects in your mouth.
Though the thought of a retainer may put a damper on the excitement of losing your braces, you actually need one. Your teeth need time to set, much like cement.
So, what happens to the people who decide to keep their retainer in a drawer, never to see the light of day? Read on to find out.
How braces straighten the teeth
Like most parts of the body, the teeth and the jawbones can change. The jaws can change in size, shape and position. The teeth can shift. This is what orthodontists count on when they realign patients' teeth with braces.
Sure enough, the teeth slowly shift into their new positions and the orthodontist is happy with the results. When the teeth are straight and beautiful, the orthodontist takes the braces off. All of a sudden, the teeth realize that the braces and the pressure they exert are gone.
Why a dentist will recommend a retainer after braces
Once a retainer is put in place, it will hold the teeth in their new alignment and keep them from moving back to their old positions. By holding the teeth in place, a retainer gives the jaw time to grow and adjust to the new alignment of the teeth.
If a patient decides to avoid their retainer, they can expect one of the following outcomes:
1. The teeth will quickly move back to their old positions
Young people whose bones are still growing are likely to experience this outcome if they ditch their retainers. Braces align the teeth. They stimulate the jawbone to change and accommodate the new positions of the teeth. But the teeth and the jawbone are not unlike elastic. All they want is to get back to their old positions.
This is especially true in younger people. Which is why a young person may notice their teeth shift out of alignment at an alarming rate. In fact, most dentists will tell their patients to wear their retainer 22 hours a day for the first month or three. Or five, depending on how severely misaligned the teeth were.
After a while, the dentist will instruct the patients to wear their retainer at night.
2. The teeth will slowly shift back to their old positions
A patient with teeth that were only moderately misaligned may enjoy their straightened teeth for a while. It may take longer for such teeth lose their alignment.
3. Their teeth will remain straight
A lucky few have teeth and jaws that stay in position for the sake of a nice smile. It is really important to remember that such people are few and far between.
Use your retainer and keep your beautiful smile
You went through a lot to get your teeth to look as good as they do now. Hold on to the benefits of months (or years) of braces by using your retainer. Your smile will thank you for it.
If you need to find out more about orthodontic treatments, we invite you to contact our office today.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Orthodontics in St Peters, MO.
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