Sharon William, the head of digital marketing at Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA., shared with Healthy Lombard that once you’ve spent months or years wearing braces. It’s finally time to take them off and see your pearly whites in a single, straight-line, minus the metal brackets, your teeth straightening journey doesn’t end here.
The after-braces journey is just getting started, and it’s just as important. This is where the retainers will step in and continue working on keeping your teeth straight.
What is a Retainer?
The teeth will continue to move after the braces are removed. They are at risk of going back to their original, crooked positions.
The main job of the retainers after braces is to ensure that your teeth don’t move back into crooked positions. As the name suggests, they ‘retain’ the straight positions of the teeth.
Why are Retainers Needed?
Besides your teeth, the elastic ligaments that hold your teeth to the socket in your jaw will also move during the orthodontic treatment. Once the braces’ treatment is over, the tissues and ligaments in the jaw will need some time to stabilize.
Without a retainer, the teeth will certainly migrate to their old positions as the elastic ligaments will start moving again. The braces treatment may essentially get reversed without the retainer.
An orthodontic retainer will help your teeth and their surrounding hard and soft tissues to stabilize and align in their new positions. The teeth may take from several months to a few years to become permanent in their new, straight positions. The orthodontists will recommend you wear the retainers until the teeth settle in their new positions.
3 Common Types of Retainers
You can choose between different types of retainers that best suits your needs. Consult your orthodontist before making a final decision. They may recommend a suitable retainer based on the severity of your case, your personal preference, and your budget.
The most common options of retainers that you can choose from include:
- Removable Retainers – Removable retainers are made of plastic or acrylic with a metal wire. They are shaped to the inside of your mouth, and the bendable wire stretches across the front teeth. You can easily remove them, and it’s very convenient to use. This type of retainer is adjustable, so the orthodontist can make minor adjustments if required. They are very comfortable to wear, but need to be cleaned and cared for properly.
- Permanent Wire Retainers — These are usually recommended for patients who underwent significant orthodontic work. A permanent wire retainer is worn as a wire running across the back of the teeth. The retainer is bonded with orthodontic cement that is similar to the one used to apply the braces’ brackets. The biggest advantage of permanent wire retainers is that it guarantees your teeth stay in place since they cannot be removed. The hygiene and maintenance requirements are almost similar to braces. You must brush and floss diligently to ensure good oral health.
- Plastic/Clear Retainers – These retainers are clear, just like clear aligners. You can slip them on or remove them as required. Due to their clarity, these retainers are practically unnoticeable when worn. This makes it one of the most popular options for many. However, if they aren’t worn for the recommended time, there is a good chance the retainers won’t be as effective. Be careful about not misplacing them or breaking them while putting or removing them.
The idea of wearing yet another orthodontic appliance for a few more months may seem unappealing. But, skipping this step will be a huge mistake. Retainers ensure that your teeth are set permanently so that you can enjoy a straighter smile that lasts a lifetime.
Sharon William is the head of digital marketing at Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA. She loves to create compelling content which can connect straight with the audience clearing all the clutter aside. Her focus area is dental health issues and their solutions. She knows the power of a genuine smile and passionately works towards educating her readers about that. She wants them to understand how they can improve their smile and overall lifestyle. She likes to arrange small meets in her neighborhood to discuss the topics on which she writes.