Retainers are worn on the teeth after the braces come off, and are usually supplied by your orthodontist after treatment. They are essential for preventing shifting, and can ensure you “retain” your straight smile for years to come. Here are some commonly asked questions about retainers that will help you better understand what is involved with having one for your teeth.
How Long Will I Have to Wear It?
In many cases, you will have to wear the retainer for as long as you wore the braces. That means the severity of your dental problem reflects on your retainer in the same way it does on your braces. If you didn’t have to wear braces for very long, then you shouldn’t have to wear the retainer for long either.
The severity of your dental problem will also determine how often you have to wear the retainer. In many cases, it is only necessary to wear it at night. Your orthodontist will tell you how long and how often to wear the retainer, and some people will have to wear it throughout the day, only taking it off when absolutely necessary. You definitely want to listen to your orthodontist’s advice on this matter if you want to keep the smile you worked so hard for.
What Types of Retainers Are There?
Not all retainers are removable. Sometimes, a retainer consists of a fixed wire that goes behind the teeth. Your orthodontist may give you a choice as to which kind you want or may recommend that you go with one or the other based on your situation and dental needs. The fixed wire will stay on for however long the orthodontist deems it is necessary. The removable retainer is something you can take out whenever you like.
How Do I Care for My Retainer?
No matter what kind of retainer you have, you do need to take good care of it. Proper care not only ensures your teeth will be protected but that your retainer can do its job and last for as long as you need it.
Be sure to brush your teeth regularly, and take the removable retainer out to do so. Don’t brush too vigorously with a fixed retainer or you can end up damaging it. You also have to be careful about eating with any type of retainer in your mouth. It’s a good idea to follow the same rules for food as you did when you had braces. If you do, your retainer is going to be far more effective.