Once your braces have been taken off, your orthodontist is going to recommend that you wear retainers. It may seem likely you are getting rid of one appliance and replacing it with another, but retainers are far less invasive and obvious than braces; plus, you can remove certain types of retainers whenever you want.
Why Is a Retainer Necessary?
While some modern orthodontic treatments (such as Invisalign) normally don’t require aligners, traditional braces generally do. The period just after the braces are taken off is very important for your teeth. There is high risk of your teeth relapsing and shifting back to their previous positions or simply shifting incrementally. That’s because your bone and tissue may not have solidified properly yet after the braces have been taken off, and it is easy for the teeth to move around. The retainer holds them in place and helps you retain the smile that your braces gave you.
If you didn’t wear the retainer, then you would quickly lose all the hard work you put into straightening your teeth. You want to be sure you follow your orthodontist’s advice precisely about wearing your retainers. You could end up having to wear braces again because you simply didn’t listen about proper retainer use.
It Gets Easier
You’ve already been through the braces, and you know how frustrating and limiting they can be. Retainers are much easier to deal with. If you have a fixed retainer, then no one will ever even know you are wearing one except for you. That’s because it is simply a small wire that goes behind your teeth. You still have to be careful what you eat and how you care for the retainer, but most of the time you won’t even realize it’s there.
The removable retainers can simply be taken off whenever you don’t want to use them. Now your orthodontist will tell you how often you are supposed to wear them, but you can take them off for special occasions like dates or to eat without causing any damage to your teeth. Just be sure to put the retainer back in again as soon as you can.
Making the Retainer Work
You’ll have to follow a lot of the same rules for retainers as you did for braces if you want to get the most out of them. That means no biting your fingernails and no eating very hard foods while you wear them. You also need to make sure you clean them regularly. Cleaning a removable retainer is easier than cleaning braces though, as you can take it out and just soak it to keep it in good condition. Just don’t forget to take care of the retainer and let your orthodontist know if it is giving you any troubles. It may be uncomfortable at first, but over time, you will get used to it and often not even notice that you are wearing it.