You will probably be ecstatic when your braces are taken off. The sensation of smooth teeth on your tongue is the reward for many months or years of orthodontia treatment. However, your teeth-straightening days aren’t entirely over. You’ll receive a retainer after the brackets are taken off. Don’t discount the importance of the retainer, however, because it’s still an intricate part of your overall treatment. Take a deeper look at the importance of wearing a retainer so that you’ll remember it as a priority.
Teeth Naturally Move Over Time
Your teeth may look like they’re lined up as tightly as possible, but they can still move. The jaw, gums and chewing movement will all contribute to the teeth moving over time if you don’t wear the retainer as directed. The retainer normally has a fitted palate and wire construction that holds all of your teeth in place. Without this placeholder, the teeth have a chance to turn, tilt and become crooked once again. Your orthodontist might tell you that a person with perfect teeth may wear a retainer at night for the rest of their lives. This maintenance secret is how patients with fantastic smiles keep them so perfect.
The Wisdom Teeth Factor
Most people who wear orthodontia brackets are usually in elementary, middle or high school. This time period is perfect for teeth and jaw alignment as the body is still developing. As patients graduate to retainers, they’re normally close to the time when wisdom teeth erupt. By diligently wearing the retainer, patients maintain the necessary space in their jaw for the new teeth. In some cases, wisdom-teeth removal can be avoided with retainers in place almost 24 hours a day. If the teeth shift when a retainer isn’t worn, wisdom-teeth surgery is almost always necessary. Avoiding an extraction process is a good motivation for any patient.
Avoiding Braces Again
Wearing retainers after treatment is also critical when you want to avoid a repeat treatment with brackets and wires. If you neglect to wear the retainer, the teeth will eventually move into crooked positions. A worst-case scenario would involve brackets and wires placed back on your teeth. Although you might opt for Invisalign products at this stage, you’re still repeating a process that can be ultimately avoided. Some insurance policies may not cover a second round of orthodontia treatment when it was already covered in previous years. The simple act of sliding the retainer on will reduce the chances of requiring more extensive orthodontia treatment in the future.
Curbing Teeth Grinding
Regardless of the type of retainer that you wear, it does hold your jaw in a certain position. This orientation helps during sleep, especially if you grind your teeth. Because the retainer doesn’t allow free movement of your mouth during rest, the teeth won’t be subjected to hours of grinding action. When you don’t grind your teeth, the edges remain smooth and the alignment maintains its perfect position. It’s possible to cause a shift in the teeth if you don’t wear the retainer and grinding is an issue. You’ll notice that the retainer is more difficult to slide on after neglecting to wear it over a long time period. A week without a retainer is often long enough to make a negative impact on your smile.
Maintaining That Perfect Smile
The main motivation to wear your retainer is merely smile aesthetics. You want to keep that brilliant smile that’s been carefully carved out over many months of treatment. The retainer may seem like an overreaction to possible movement, but it truly works as a placeholder. As kids grow into the teen years and beyond, their teeth will slowly shift into a permanent position. The retainer is mainly there to stop any small aberrations from occurring. If one tooth shifts, the entire smile can be negatively affected and extensive repairs may need to be made.
When to Wear the Retainer
Your orthodontist will give you strict instructions about the retainer and its use. At first, you’ll probably wear it 24 hours a day except during meals. You might follow this guideline for one year or more. After a set time period, the professional will usually ask you to wear it only at night. It’s easy to forget about the retainer when it’s only a nighttime habit, however. Try to remind yourself with alarms and other tricks in order to keep up with the treatment. The professional will adjust the retainer at each appointment as you move forward from the initial brackets and wires.
Different Retainer Types
You might notice that you have a choice between two different retainer types, such as:
A fixed retainer is actually bonded to the teeth with a corresponding wire. You keep this retainer on for as long as the professional deems necessary. It’s a more permanent way to keep your teeth as straight as possible. Removable retainers, in contrast, are easily slid in and out of the mouth. You’re responsible for their use as dictated by the professional.
Schedule an Appointment with Tisseront Orthodontics
At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., you can receive a free consultation with Dr. Stephan Tisseront to learn more about your orthodontic options. Our orthodontist takes care of children, teenagers and adults at our top-of-the-line office, and he offers these treatments:
• Lingual braces – worn on the backs of teeth
• Invisalign – aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic orthodontia – made with clear wires and color-matching brackets
It is also possible to reduce your orthodontic treatment time by using a small device from AcceleDent Aura that helps to accelerate the movement of your teeth into the correct positions.
Call us today at 703-773-1200 to schedule an examination with Dr. Tisseront in our state-of-the-art orthodontic facility.
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762
The Importance of Wearing Retainers After Treatment