There is nothing more liberating than finally having your braces removed. It is exciting and exhilarating at the same time because you will finally get to enjoy the fruits of your patience and your smile will be straight and beautiful. So big is such a day that some people even hold parties to celebrate the coming off of their braces. Amidst the celebrations and jubilation, you get word from your orthodontist that she/he wants to talk to you about retention and keeping your teeth in the desired position. Just when you thought the agony of wearing your braces was over, your orthodontist comes in with new talk of retainers and keeping your teeth straight. It might sound like a killjoy but in truth retention is very important once your brace have come off.
Importance of tooth retention after braces
A lot of people think that because they have had their braces removed, their teeth have stopped moving. This however is not the case because even after the braces have been removed, the teeth will still be moving and if there is no mechanism to keep the teeth together in their desired shape, they may move back to the position they were in before braces were used to straighten them. This is where retainers come in and help in reducing movements and keeping teeth in their desired positions.
How retainers work
Whereas braces exerted pressure on your teeth and helped move your teeth, retainers are a little different and are essentially stoppers which prevent any further teeth movement and shifting. As we earlier on mentioned, teeth will naturally want to shift even after the braces have been removed. With retainers present though, the movement will be very limited and the teeth will be properly aligned.
The fixed type of retainer is usually a thin wire worn across the back of the lower or upper front teeth, which is bonded in place with an adhesive similar to that applied on the brackets of braces. They are easy to clean and hold teeth properly into position for the desired periods of time. Because they are not removable, they tend to be more effective and will take full effect because they are always glued to the teeth until the day the orthodontist decides to take them off.
The removable type of retainer is usually a combination of a wire going across the front of the lower or upper front teeth held in place with a combination of acrylic material and clasps that insert in and around the back teeth to hold the retainer in place.
These retainers which are popularly referred to as the Hawley retainers can be removed and reinserted at will. They are very comfortable because they essentially assume the shape of your mouth. They however can easily be misplaced if you are not careful. You can also clean your teeth easily because you can essentially remove them before cleaning teeth.
These are the equivalents of invisalign braces. They are clear moulded plastic retainers that fit into your teeth and help keep them in the desired position for as long as possible. They are virtually invisible. They are also very efficient because they pay attention to each individual tooth.
How long does one have to wear retainers for?
The beauty of wearing retainers is that they don’t need to be worn for as long as dental braces. Ideally, only the first six months are important because afterwards. Past these 6 months the retainers are not necessary and your teeth will be in perfect shape for life. Just six more months or so and you will be liberated for life.
Getting the most out of retainers
Ensure that you wear the retainers at all times. If you are required to wear them through the night, the do exactly that.
Maintain your retainers and keep them clean at all times. Failure to do this will increase chances of you contracting infections and other dental complications. Wash the retainers and clean your teeth on a regular basis for the best possible results.
Go for dental checkups and replace your retainers if they have any defect. Sometimes the orthodontist recommends replacing the retainers after two to three months and you should duly oblige.
If you are in Houston and want to learn more about retainers and their importance in keeping teeth straight, then visit Vita Dental here is Houston for professional advice. We have a wide range of high quality braces and retainers to help your teeth remain in top shape after the braces have been removed. Visit our offices in Houston today and talk to us about your orthodontic needs and we will gladly provide solutions at very affordable rates. Contact us today for the best braces and retainers in the market.