You’ve reached the finishing line! No more braces. No more restrictions on foods or extra care. It’s a celebration until your orthodontist tells you, you need to wear retainers. Just when we think we are done with our treatment, we are told we need retainers the celebration is over. We get it! But the celebration should still happen.
For one, your brace treatment is done, and your teeth have been aligned, and two, wearing a retainer is part of your brace treatment to keep your teeth healthy and aligned. We know it can come as a surprise, but it’s necessary. So…
What’s a Retainer?
A retainer is a custom-made piece of plastic or metal to fit an individual in need which is most common in kids or adults who have had braces. They are tailored to suit your mouth and teeth and to be worn a little while after brace treatment.
Although, they can be used to close gaps in between teeth that don’t require braces or help with speech problems.
Wearing a Retainer
Not ideal at first thought. However, they are not as bad as braces. There are a couple of reasons you might need to wear a retainer but the most common reason, as mentioned before, is having gone through brace treatment. Retainers help keep your teeth from shifting and help them maintain align and in their new positions for your tissue and bones to adjust their new placement.
Unlike braces, retainers are removable so, for the most part, you will be able to take them off for a specific time. How long you wear a retainer is dependent on what your orthodontist says. Sometimes you might be asked to wear it all day for three months, or at night for the year. Again, it depends on what your orthodontist says besides you want to ensure you follow instructions as not to waste time, effort and money on brace treatment.
In the first couple of days, wearing the retainer might may your teeth feel sore or pressure, but it is normal to feel it so don’t start to panic, however, if it is persistent then visit your orthodontist to make necessary adjustments. But for the most part, you will need to get used to speaking with them and having them.
Types of Retainers
There are two types of retainers, removable and fixed. Removable retainers are easy to slide in and out of the mouth. Fixed retainers are also known as bonded retainers are meant to be indefinite.
- Fixed Retainers – are cemented to the lingual of the teeth. They are cemented to the bottom six tooth, but they might be placed in the upper teeth.
- Hawley Retainers – the most commonly used retainer, have a wire that wraps your teeth and fits with the shape of your mouth.
- Invisible Retainers – are made of clear plastic, making it seem as you aren’t wearing retainers.
Your orthodontist will go over the retainer best suited for you after treatment. If you have any questions concerning retainers, ask your orthodontist.
Caring for Retainers
Retainers critical to your after treatment process, they are what keeps your teeth in their new position since our teeth naturally tend to shift, so you want to make sure you are cleaning them.
Our mouth is infested with bacteria and food particles which means like our teeth, they should be cleaned every day. The way you wash them is dependent on the type of retainer you have. Your orthodontist will go over how to clean your retainer. For example, fixed retainers required visits to the dentist office to prevent plaque build-up and cavities. For removable retainers, you can soak them with vinegar or denture cleaning agent to kill germs.
You want to keep track of them because you don’t want to lose them. Retainers are expensive, and your parents won’t be too happy about having to pay every time you lose your retainers or if they are damaged. So watch out where you place them.
Reference: Kidshealth – https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/retainers.html