When it comes to teeth straightening, braces get all the glory – but no perfectly aligned smile has ever stood the test of time without the help of a retainer.
What is a Retainer?
An orthodontic retainer is a simple, unobtrusive device made out of clear plastic, rubber, or metal, that is custom-made to fit your teeth and keep them in the right alignment after an orthodontic or teeth straightening treatment such as braces.
Basically, a retainer’s job is to hold your teeth in place.
Why Should I Wear a Retainer?
In short, it’s important to wear your retainer – correctly, and as often as your orthodontist recommends – to prevent your teeth from moving out of their new alignment once your braces have been removed.
While your teeth may be perfectly straight now, it takes time for them to settle permanently into their new position in your jaw. Also, everyone’s teeth naturally shift and move over time. Retainers are designed to help further set your teeth into their new position, and control the natural shifting process, to ensure the beautiful results of your braces are not wasted.
How Long Will I Have to Wear a Retainer?
How long you’ll need to wear your retainer depends on your treatment and your teeth, but many people can expect to wear a retainer for at least as long as they wore braces. Everyone is different, though, which is why it’s important to follow the advice of your orthodontist, who will be able to make the best, expert recommendation based on your unique needs.
When you have your braces removed, your orthodontist will fit you for retainers and advise you on how long you’ll need to wear them, and when. You may need to wear your retainer all day for a number of months, and then only wear it at night for a while after that, or you may only need to wear your retainer at night as soon as your braces come off.
Read more about braces if you’re ready to begin your journey to a beautiful, perfectly aligned smile.