The Role of Retainers in Orthodontic Treatment: What You Need to Know

Orthodontic treatment can be a lengthy and involved process, often requiring the use of braces or other orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth and correct bite issues. Once the braces are removed, however, the work isn’t quite done yet. The final step in orthodontic treatment typically involves the use of retainers to help maintain the newly straightened teeth. We’ll explore the role of retainers in orthodontic treatment and what you need to know about them.

What are retainers?

For lasting results, retainers are essential after orthodontic treatment. Customized to fit each patient’s mouth, these devices help ensure that the teeth stay in their newly straightened position and can be either removable or permanently affixed.

Why are retainers necessary?

After orthodontic treatment, the teeth will naturally want to shift back to their original positions. This is because the bone around the teeth has not yet fully formed and is still somewhat flexible. Retainers help prevent this shifting by holding the teeth in their new positions until the bone has fully formed and hardened.

How long do I need to wear a retainer?

The duration for which you need to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment can vary depending on individual factors. Generally, orthodontists recommend wearing retainers full-time for several months after braces or aligners are removed, and then transitioning to wearing them only at night for a longer period. In some cases, patients may need to wear their retainers for several years to maintain their new smile. Your orthodontist will provide you with specific instructions on how long you need to wear your retainer based on your unique treatment plan and needs. It is important to follow their recommendations to ensure the best possible outcome for your smile.

What types of retainers are available?

There are two main types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers can be taken out of the mouth for cleaning and eating and are typically made of plastic or acrylic. Fixed retainers are bonded to the back of the teeth with a wire and cannot be removed by the patient.

How do I care for my retainer?

Taking good care of your retainer is integral for keeping it clean and in working order. For removable retainers, make sure to brush them with toothpaste and a toothbrush on occasion and store them safely in their case when you’re not wearing them. Fixed retainers should be brushed around the wires as well as brackets delicately so that any particles from food or plaque can be cleared away.

In conclusion, retainers play a critical role in orthodontic treatment by helping to maintain the position of newly straightened teeth. They come in two main types, removable and fixed, and require proper care and maintenance to keep them clean and functional. Your orthodontist will provide guidance on how long you need to wear your retainer and how to properly care for it to ensure the best possible outcome for your orthodontic treatment.

Do you or someone in your family need braces? Stellar Family Orthodontics can help! Click here to learn more about the different types of braces we use today!