Many patients wonder why they are told to wear a retainer after their braces have been removed. After all, weren’t the braces there to straighten your teeth? That’s why it’s important to understand the purpose and benefits of retainers, and how the success of your overall treatment depends on your commitment to wearing one.
What are retainers?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) explains that a retainer is a fixed or removable appliance worn after braces are removed or aligner therapy is complete. Removable retainers can be made out of wire or a clear, plastic-like material. Fixed retainers stay on your teeth until they are removed by your orthodontist. You and your orthodontist will discuss the type of retainer that works best for your particular situation.
According to the AAO, retainers allow the bone surrounding your teeth to rebuild while keeping them from shifting out of position after braces are removed. Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. That’s why here at American Family Orthodontics, we say nighttime for a lifetime!
What’s the best way to care for my retainers?
The AAO offers several tips for how you can take care of your retainers. Importantly, always keep a removable retainer in its case when you are not wearing it. Never leave it loose in a purse, on a heat source, or within a dog’s reach. Both fixed and removable retainers should also be kept clean. Your orthodontist will give you instructions on the best ways to do this, which may include using an interproximal brush or avoiding certain foods or drinks.
Questions? Contact us today!
Retainers will help to preserve the beautiful smile you achieved with your braces or aligners, so it is important to wear them as prescribed. If you have any questions or concerns about wearing a retainer, or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today!