What to expect when braces come off, and why wear a retainer?

By December 17, 2015Braces, Invisalign, Retainers

Achieving that perfect smile everyone is looking for can take six months to two years with dental braces depending on your individual treatment needs, therefore it is important to make sure it was not all in vain once the braces come off. Learn more here about how retainers can help protect your investment and keep your healthy and beautiful smile as bright as ever.

What to expect?

Retainers are the solution to keep your teeth straight for decades once the braces finally come off. It takes about 9 months for your periodontal ligaments to adjust to the treatment and to keep your teeth in the same position.

Therefore, as eager as you may be to finally be able to eat whatever you want now that the braces are off, it is recommended to only eat hard, sticky, tough, chewy, and crunchy foods when the retainer is removed to prevent further damages that may prolong your treatment. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing is also necessary at all times, just don’t forget to remove your retainer beforehand.

Types of Retainers

There are three basic types of retainers available with Fresh Smiles Orthodontics: “Trutain”, “Hawley”, or permanent retainers.

  • Smiling Girl Holding Retainer For Teeth And Tooth Tray“Trutain” retainers are the most frequently used type of retainer. They have gained popularity since the release of the Invisalign treatment in the early 2000’s. Made of clear plastic, “Trutain” retainers are nearly invisible and can be removed when you eat or brush your teeth to avoid damaging the retainer. It is often the preferred solution for adults.
  • The “Hawley” retainer is made of acrylic designed from a mold of your mouth and includes a wire that holds your teeth in position.
  • Permanent retainers consist of a wire that is glued to the back of your lower front teeth. It is never removed and prevents your teeth from shifting over the years.

How often do I wear it?

Being disciplined about wearing your retainer will come a long way in keeping your teeth straight for decades. Not wearing your retainer regularly will cause your teeth to shift, especially early on when the braces are finally off.

Most dentists will advise to wear the retainer day and night for 6 weeks so that the teeth will stay in place. After that, the retainer can be worn at nights only. As the years go by, your retainer can be worn less regularly but it is recommended to wear a retainer as much as possible to prevent the teeth from shifting.

Visit one of our dentists in Newtown or Belmont for more information on retainer options and how to keep your smile as bright as ever for years to come.