After months or even years of wearing braces, your teeth are finally aligned and you have the smile of your dreams. But how do you keep it that way once the braces are removed? That’s where retainers come in.
Let’s take a look at what a retainer is, what it does, and why it’s so important.
After braces or other orthodontic appliances are removed, a retainer is worn by patients. But what exactly is it? A retainer is a custom-made device that fits over your teeth to keep them in the correct position. Your braces have moved your teeth to ensure they are straight and aligned. The retainer makes sure they stay that way.
There are a few types of retainers:
These retainers have a wire attached to the back of your teeth. They are ideal for people with rotated, crowded, or spaced teeth. It is permanent in the mouth and cannot be removed for cleaning. But there are still ways to clean the retainer while it’s in your mouth.
These retainers are made of bendable wire and plastic. The wire goes across the front teeth, while the plastic part is custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth. They come in various styles and colors and are easy to clean.
These retainers are removable, made of clear plastic, and very similar to Invisalign aligners. Because they are clear, they are not visible when in the mouth. They are also not very big and fit directly on your teeth so they don’t affect your speech. But because they are made of plastic, they can wear out and crack over time.
Any patient who has undergone orthodontic treatment likely needs to wear a retainer. It ensures the results of the orthodontic treatment last.
There is no way to overstate how important retainers are to your overall dental health. They are so important because they:
Because braces are often used on preteens and teenagers whose bodies and teeth are still developing, retainers are necessary after braces to ensure enough space is kept for new teeth and wisdom teeth to grow in. With consistent use of retainers, you ensure those teeth don’t crowd or shift your other teeth when they come in.
Once braces come off, the teeth will start moving back to their original position within months. Retainers stop this from happening and in turn, prevent the need for braces or other orthodontic treatment a second time.
When your teeth are aligned to a new position, the gums and bones surrounding the teeth will take longer to move with the teeth. Retainers help to stabilize your bite and ensure the gums and bones align with the new position of your teeth.
If your braces were used to correct gaps in your smile, it can take a longer time for the teeth to stabilize and hold their new position. This is especially the case if the teeth were moved a considerable distance. A retainer can ensure the teeth stay where they need to be and adapt to their new position.
Once you have your braces removed, your orthodontist will make a mold of your teeth and create the retainer based on the new position of your teeth. But we know what a retainer is and why it’s important, but how exactly does it work?
Retainers apply gentle pressure to the teeth and jaw to ensure everything maintains its position and alignment.
By wearing retainers as directed by your orthodontist, you can preserve the results of your braces.
At Swan Orthodontics, we offer the Retainers For Life Program. While retainers are crucial to preserving a perfect smile, they can be easy to lose and break. With our program, you ensure you never need to pay full price for a replacement retainer.
For only $600.00, you can enroll in our program and get replacement retainers for no charge at all. The program also ensures you have a 3D scan of your teeth after braces as well as a printed 3D model so your office visits for replacement retainers are much shorter.
Are you interested in learning more about retainers or starting the process of braces? Dr. Kathryn Swan at Swan Orthodontics is more than happy to answer any questions you have and discuss the best treatment options for you.
To schedule a consultation for you, call our Caledonia, MI office at 616-698-2323 or use our online scheduling tool.