Whether you’ve finished wearing traditional braces or clear aligners from Invisalign, you’ll need to take the proper steps to keep your smile looking that way. Even the best oral care regimen can’t prevent your teeth from shifting back to their crooked position. Luckily, your orthodontist in Montgomeryville offers patients a special device designed to keep your smile healthy and looking straight.
After dedicating many months to orthodontic treatment, the last thing you want is for all of it to go to waste. Today, we’ll discuss the importance of wearing and caring for your retainer after treatment.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
When teeth shift to new positions, it takes time for the surrounding bone and tissue to reorganize. A retainer helps keep your teeth’s new position once the braces come off or you stop wearing your clear aligners. Without a retainer, there’s no reason your teeth won’t begin shifting back, especially in the first month after ending orthodontic treatment. Your smile is the most vulnerable during this time, so it’s essential to keep wearing your retainer full-time during that period.
Typically, retainers come in two forms: fixed or removable.
- Fixed – Held in place by being cemented to the back of your teeth.
- Removable – These come in either Hawley or invisible form. Hawley retainers adhere to the shape of your mouth and are kept in place by a wire that wraps around your teeth. Invisible retainers are similar to clear aligners, except they adhere to your smile’s current shape.
How Long Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
Your orthodontist in Montgomeryville says you’ll need to wear your retainer full-time after you complete orthodontic treatment, at least at first. This way, he can determine if any significant movement is occurring. If not, he may tell you to only wear the retainer while you sleep. Depending on the complexity of your orthodontic case, you may only need to wear them at night right away.
Usually, retainers are worn for the same amount of time as your orthodontic treatment. That means if you wore Invisalign for 12 months, that time will be reflected in your retainer use. You may need to wear them full-time for the first 6 months, then only at night for the remaining six. Fixed retainers are typically worn for about 5 years.
How Do I Care for My Retainer?
If wearing a fixed retainer, you’ll just need to brush normally and visit your dentist regularly. However, removable retainers need to be rinsed and soaked in either denture cleanser or another over-the-counter cleaning solution. You’ll take out them during meals, while playing contact sports, and when you brush your teeth, but make sure they go back in after.
The safest place to keep them is in your mouth, but you should also keep your retainer case available at all times. This way, you’ll have a proper place to store them and be less likely to forget them during the day.
Retainers are designed to do just that: retain your straight and beautiful smile. If you have more questions about your orthodontic aftercare, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist today!
About the Author
Dr. Bryan Foley earned his DMD degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and completed his post-graduate, orthodontic residency at Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry. His training gives him the necessary expertise to provide traditional braces and Invisalign in Montgomeryville. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.