Your retainer is an important final step in your orthodontic treatment. Our CCOA dentists discuss why it is so vitally important to wear your retainer as directed by your dental team.
The Purpose Of A Retainer
Once your braces or Invisalign have done their job and hopefully straightened your teeth, they won't be firmly in their corrected position for a while. This takes some time as the gums and muscles adjust to the change. Everyday habits like chewing and grinding apply forces to your teeth and can move them. Shifting teeth can also lead to malocclusion. This is when your upper and lower teeth don’t align with your mouth closed.
Your braces kept your teeth in a straight position for a long time. Once your orthodontic treatment ends, nothing is keeping your teeth from moving back to their previous position. Wearing a retainer helps keep your teeth in the correct place, so they don’t move. Think of it this way: Braces straighten your teeth, but your retainer keeps them that way. They help your teeth “retain” their position.
What are the benefits of wearing a retainer?
When your dentist removes off your braces or you finish your Invisalign treatment, your teeth are perfectly aligned. Using a retainer keeps your teeth in the correct position so the results last. With the long-term use of a teeth retainer, all the hard work you put into getting and wearing braces pays off.
What will happen if I don't wear my retainer?
It's actually normal for teeth to shift over time. Without the use of your retainer, your teeth can start to shift and move, and even go back to their original position or you can develop an overbite. That’s why most dental providers prescribe the use of a teeth retainer after braces come off.
How long will I need a retainer?
Your dental provider will likely recommend you wear the retainer day and night (full-time) for at least four to six months. After that, you’ll need to wear the teeth retainer at night (part-time) for the rest of your life.
What do I do if I lose my retainer?
If you misplace your retainer or even break it, don't worry! Our CCOA dental team can get you a new one. But don't delay because the longer you go without wearing a retainer, the more your teeth can shift.