Once your braces are off, you will need orthodontic retainers to hold your teeth in place, so that they do not shift back to their original position. Orthodontic retainers serve this purpose by stabilising the teeth in their new position.
Without retainers, the teeth tend to revert back to their original position, this is why it is essential to start wearing your retainers from the moment you finish the active phase of your treatment.
Retainers have to be worn for at least the equivalent length of your orthodontic treatment, as the bone needs to adjust to the new position of your teeth.
There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable.
Fixed retainers are wires which are adhered to the lingual side of the teeth, running from canine to canine. These are applied when only frontal movements were carried out, to help these teeth to stabilize in the bone.
The advantage of these retainers is that they are there to support your teeth 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about taking them in and out, or carry them with you when you travel.
Thanks to the constant presence of the retainer, it is impossible for the teeth to shift back to their original position.
A disadvantage of this type of orthodontic retainer is that you have to be extra careful with your oral care routine. Flossing is essential with fixed retainers, as food can easily be trapped between the wire and your teeth. It is also very important that you visit your dentist regularly for oral cleaning sessions, as fixed wires attract plaque build-up.
This type of retainer look pretty much the same as aligners; the difference is in their function. Removable retainers should be worn 24 hours a day, at least in the first few months. Your orthodontist will advise what routine to follow, which will be monitored at your monthly check-ups.
The great advantage of removable retainers is that you can brush and floss your teeth easily, and you don’t have to worry about plaque build-up.
The disadvantage of these retainers is that those of us who tend to misplace our belongings easily, it might be a challenge to wear retainers for teeth 24 hours a day. It is highly recommended though, as the teeth immediately start to relapse. You don’t want all your hard work going to waste, do you?
If you forgot to wear your orthodontic retainers and find that they do not fit as they used to, go back to wearing them all the time until they feel comfortable again. Also, remember to attend your monthly check-ups after your treatment is finished, as this way we can make sure that your new, beautifully straight smile stays forever!
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