You go to your dentist office and the doctor takes those out. You might be asking yourself “What happens next?” “do I need retainers?” or more importantly “am I going to keep my perfect smile and for how long?”.
So finally after months, or even years depending on your case, of waiting to get those annoying braces out of your mouth the day has come.
A lot of our patients ask us about what the next step is, specifically about retainers and if they should start using one to retain their smile.
The Trust Dental Care team of experts came up with the most common questions regarding post-treatment for braces and orthodontics.
What are retainers for?
Using a retainer is a very important part of finalizing the orthodontic treatment as they are responsible for maintaining and aligning teeth, it also helps improve your bite.
Teeth that have been aligned with orthodontic treatment have the tendency to return to their original position.
So retention is very important to maintain the results that you obtain by the treatment.
This is where retainers play an integral part in your oral health.
What are the different types of retainers?
There are many different types and styles of retainers, but the most common ones are these:
Fixed Retainers. These are usually worn with wires bonded to the lower back teeth. Mostly for aesthetic purposes. They are usually made directly in the patient’s mouth or from a stone model made from the patient’s teeth.
Removable Retainers. These are made of acrylic and stainless steel wire.
Also there are at least common type of retainer called clear vacuum, they are really comfortable and pretty much invisible once placed.
Do I have to Wear Them All the Time?
It really depends on your specific case, based on this, our dentist can determine what the best course of action is for you.
Some retainers are used full-time for the first 6 months; after that, the retainers are worn only at night. For a few years.
Other are only used full time for a week, or just at night. Fixed retainers are normally kept in place for 5 years.
Is it Important to Use Your Retainers as Instructed?
If you’re using a removable retainer, you must remove it when performing contact sports, eating and even when brushing your teeth.
Al, this applies when cleaning them, so when doing this, remove it and brush it in tap water using a soft toothbrush and regular toothpaste.
Then just brush your teeth normally.
Remember the retainer is designed to be in your mouth, so that’s the safest place for it.
While not using it, keep it in a box. Do not put it in a napkin when eating, you’d be surprised how many of them get tossed out with the trash.
For how long and how often should I wear a retainer?
There’s no specific time period for this, however. The recommendation it’s to use a retainer for at least a year.
The most common use is a removable upper teeth retainer as much of the relapse can occur during the first 6 months after braces removal.
After the 6 month period ends, you can start using the retainer only at nights when you go to sleep and gradually stop using it altogether.
In the case of a lower arch retainer, it’s usually a fixed one and must be worn for a longer period of time.
The best way to obtain long-term results is by using long-term retention, even if it’s a little uncomfortable.
How do I clean my retainers properly?
Having a fixed retainer can make things complicated when it comes to cleaning in between teeth. However, just try to follow your regular teeth cleaning routine, use floss and mouthwash and you will be ok.
With removable retainers, both types should be cleaned as follows:
- You can brush your removable retainers with a toothbrush (not the one that you are using to brush your teeth) with either liquid soap or a non-abrasive toothpaste. Just remember to rinse them well.
- Once a week, soak the retainers in denture cleaning solution. Dissolve the tablet and put the retainer in the solution for 10 minutes to 20 minutes maximum. Please only use cold water to soak your retainer.
Do I still need to go to my dentist to check my retainers regularly?
Regardless of the type of retainer you’re using, you must at least visit your dentist at least twice a year.
How Will Retainers Affect My Daily Life?
For starters, if you are using a removable retainer, there will be a wire holding the front teeth. It’s barely visible, but you might want to take that into consideration.
If you want to be more discreet about it just stick to a fixed one.
If you decide to get a removable retainer on the upper jaw, it will take about a day or two to get used to it and be able to speak properly while wearing it.
Also, you might want to take into consideration that being a foreign object, your mouth will start to generate more and more saliva.
Always bring the box to store your retainers to be kept should you need to remove them.
If you have a fixed retainer, you should spend more time to brush the back of your teeth.
You will be instructed on how to use dental floss with a floss-threader. Remember not to use your front teeth too for biting hard foods or objects. Fixed retainers do not affect speech.
Why Retainers Are Necessary
Before you got braces, the dentist analyzed in detail all your teeth and the constitution of your jaw to guarantee the best treatment plan to correct your teeth misalignment.
Aligning your teeth is not an easy task, mainly due to them being securely held in their place by ligaments and bone.
Traditional braces and other orthodontic devices put pressure in certain areas to allow changes on said ligaments and bone.
Slowly and over time, your teeth will get to the correct position. Once your bite has been aligned and your smile is perfect again, you have to remember they aren’t stabilized yet.
Retainers will help you preserve these amazing changes.
If you do not wear a retainer at this point of your orthodontic treatment, your teeth will slowly start to misalign. And then it’s back to square one.
Shift your teeth happens, especially if you don’t wear your retainers at night.
The speed at which this can happen, again, varies from person to person.
After a week it’s possible to have some small amount of relapse, but nothing drastic that might cause trouble. After a month your bite may start to change and your teeth will begin to worsen.
If you misplace your retainer and then find it a week later of a month later or years later and it still fits then you are lucky!
If it is tight but still fitting onto the teeth then wearing it more may improve the positions of your teeth relative to the relapse that has occurred.
If your retainer doesn’t fit at all or you are unsure then you need to visit your friendly local orthodontist for a new retainer to maintain the current positions of your teeth.
Retainers are much like apparel and need to be replaced.
Most people will be able to care for them over a two year period then need new retainers. Make sure your visit your orthodontist if you lose or distort your retainer.
Why Choose Trust Dental Care?
When it comes to selecting a dentist in Tijuana, it’s important not to go straight for the lowest prices, since treatments like this should always be treated as an important investment.
Going to the best and most qualified team for your oral health is a must. This is where Trust Dental Care comes in.
Technology from said giants of the dental industry allows us to reduce the time for you to spend on the dental chair.
We always make sure each procedure goes smoothly, but we also understand the fact that you’re anxious to leave the office as soon as possible.