It’s the big day. The day you get your braces off!
But now your orthodontist is telling you that you have to wear a retainer.
In today’s blog from Parkcrest Dental Group we will give the reasons why you should wear a retainer and for how long in order to keep that award-winning smile you just spent months or years making.
Related Post: How Retainers Work and Why You Need Them After Braces
Types of Retainers
There are three types of retainers that can be worn after removing braces. All of them are designed to do the same thing: Keep your teeth in the straightened position and prevent them from slipping back to their previous position gradually over time.
Bonded Retainers: Just like it sounds, this retainer is bonded to your teeth and is not removable.
Hawley Retainers: The most prescribed retainer, this is a retainer that can be removed for sleeping or eating, depending upon instructions from your dentist.
Clear Plastic Retainers: These are often the choice for many because they are clear and cannot be seen. However, they are not to be confused with the clear braces like Invisalign. Braces and retainers perform two different functions.
Why Wear Retainers?
Braces involve both an investment of valuable time and resources. The average time braces are on the teeth can vary depending on many factors for each individual and is related to things such as: desired aesthetic look of teeth, as well as and corrected function/bite. But, you can typically assume you may need to wear braces at least 12-18 months.
After all this time and energy (with trips back and forth to the orthodontist and the cost involved) why would you want to run the risk of your teeth moving and becoming crooked again?
That’s why retainers are necessary. Retainers work to keep your teeth from moving and shifting as you grow, which is a natural part of aging.
How Long Do You Need to Wear a Retainer?
Many orthodontists recommend you wear your retainer 24 hours a day for at least the first nine months after removing braces. After that, your orthodontist may recommend only wearing it at night.
Will you have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life?
The answer is ‘yes’.
As our bodies grow and age, so does the mouth. Your teeth will want to naturally move back into their original placement. This is called relapsing.
If retainers aren’t worn, you may end up having to wear braces again in a few years.
Keeping a Straight and Happy Smile
If you have tooth issues like decayed or discolored teeth, or your teeth need braces or orthodontics, you may be less likely to smile. Aside from the fact that dental issues can cause health problems, they also keep you from smiling as much as you might otherwise. This can impact your relationships, career, and your mental health.