Doctors prescribe retainers after orthodontic treatment with braces. They hold teeth in place to help you keep your bite after reshaping and correction. Some people find retainers irritating, but they are a minor inconvenience considering the alternative. Without retainers, you would have to go through the process of getting braces once more.
There are three types of retainers you can use after the braces removal. The doctor prescribes them depending on your need. They keep your teeth from moving and help them settle in their new placement.
Bonded retainers are not removable. Your doctor will prescribe it if you always need to have your teeth in place. It is usually as a follow-up to orthodontic treatment with braces. The doctor attaches the retainer, and you will have to wear it for a few months.
Hawley or wire retainers are removable. You can take them out when eating meals or cleaning your teeth afterward. The fact that it is removable does not mean it is not as vital as the bonded retainer or braces. You need to follow the orthodontist’s instructions and make sure you wear them when you need to.
Clear plastic or molded retainers are removable. They have become popular in the past few years because they are clear and virtually invisible. The design fits the new position of your teeth perfectly and prevents them from moving out of position.
They are not the same thing as Invisalign. Orthodontists use Invisalign to straighten teeth. Clear plastic retainers are for preventing teeth from moving out of position.
When the process of braces is complete, your orthodontist will probably prescribe a removable retainer. Some orthodontists may, however, recommend permanent retainers. The common recommendation for retainers is nine months of wear. You will need to wear them every day.
After nine months, your orthodontist will drop the wear to nightly use only. You may never stop needing your retainer. However, you may need to replace it every few years.
Your teeth will not remain in their positions because your orthodontic treatment has come to an end. Sometimes, you may need to use your retainer for the rest of your life. If you do not wear one, your teeth will tend to relapse. Relapsing refers to them shifting back to their old place.
The probability is you will need orthodontic treatment again in a few years. The usual duration is after ten years, if not sooner. You should, therefore, not try to skip the step of wearing a retainer. If by any chance you forget or skip wearing your retainer for some weeks or months, your teeth may shift.
If they do, your retainer may not fit properly anymore. You will need to get back to the orthodontist so they can decide on your next course of action. They will help your teeth recover their lost placement.
In all this, remember to keep your retainer clean. It will expand the retainer’s life span and help you with your oral health.
For more on wearing retainers, visit Ofir Orthodontics at our office in Downey, California. You can also call (562) 396-9820 to book an appointment today.