Finally, your braces are off and your teeth have been aligned! However, your orthodontist just said you still have to wear a retainer, today our orthodontic team in Burnaby explains why.
What are retainers?
Retainers are orthodontic appliances that are custom made to fit your teeth, they are designed to ‘retain’ your teeth in their new positions. Sometimes retainers are fixed (they can only be removed with assistance from a dental professional) and some are removable (you can take them out yourself when needed).
Why you need a retainer
Throughout orthodontic treatment, your teeth get slightly loosened as they shift and move into their new corrected positions. Since you are no longer wearing your braces they aren't supporting your teeth, and your teeth have to settle into the soft tissue and jaw bone that support them naturally. This process takes time, and this is why you need a retainer.
Your retainer will keep your teeth from moving out of alignment once your braces have been taken off and can no longer hold them in place.
What happens when you don't wear your retainer?
If your teeth shift, they may need further orthodontic treatment, or you'll wind up with teeth that are even more misaligned than they were before.
Wearing your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist will help you maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment, and keep your smile healthy.
Therefore, in many ways, retainers are just as important as braces in your orthodontic treatment.
How do you wear your retainer?
Most of our orthodontic patients wear their retainers full-time for about a year. Although, this time frame can vary significantly for different people.
Your orthodontist will monitor the stability of your teeth throughout the time you wear your retainer, and make recommendations about whether it should be worn full time or part-time.
After a while, you might only have to wear your retainer at night, or eventually not at all.
Are retainers comfortable?
Just like with braces or clear aligners, retainers take some getting used to. At first, you will feel a little bit of soreness, discomfort or pressure when wearing your retainer. This is normal, so don’t worry! The discomfort will fade over time.
Ultimately, the more often you wear your retainer, the more comfortable it will feel.