So you’ve had your braces removed. Unfortunately, this is not the end of your treatment. First, you’ll need to wear a retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting! You’ll need to wear them for as long as it takes for your teeth to settle into a better bite and for your bones and gums to adapt to your new straightened teeth. Learn all about retainers in this blog post!
What is a retainer?
A retainer is a custom-made piece that helps your teeth stay in place after your braces are removed. Whether it’s made from metal or medical-grade plastic, it’s shaped by heat. There are two types of retainers:
- A removable retainer can be removed when you want to eat, brush your teeth, or floss. Initially, you’ll need to wear them all day and night, but then you can just wear them at night.
- A fixed or permanent retainer features a wire that shapes to your teeth. This retainer always stays in your mouth and can only be removed by your orthodontist.
Why do I need to wear it?
Retainers are just as important as your braces. Your teeth are held in place by a band of fibrous tissues called the periodontal ligaments, which may cause them to move after your braces are removed. When you are not wearing your retainer, your lips and tongue will also produce pressure on your teeth, which may cause them to shift.
How do I take care of my retainer?
Because a retainer is made from thermoplastic material, it is sensitive to heat. This means you should keep it away from places where temperatures reach 115ºF or higher like in a turned-off car. This material is also slightly porous, so plaque can cling to the surface. Gently brush your retainer with a toothbrush before and after you place it in your mouth to keep it clean.
What happens if I don’t wear my retainer?
Without proper retainer wear, your teeth will shift back to their original positions, a process known as regression. If you lose or break your retainer, make sure to give us a call to get it replaced right away!