After having a full course of orthodontic treatment, the very last step is getting a retainer. This is a small orthodontic appliance that helps hold the teeth in their new position. Consider these three common questions about retainers so you and your child will have the knowledge to stick through to the end of your treatment plan.
Retainers are necessary because teeth wish to move back to where they were and must have an opportunity to become used to their new position in the mouth. If you choose to forgo wearing your retainer, your teeth will slowly creep back to their old positions and make all of your hard work with your braces mean nothing. The amount of movement can be greater for children’s teeth because they are still growing, which can cause the teeth to shift more than may be seen for adults.
The retainer phase of treatment can last many years. The actual length of your particular treatment will depend on you and how well you respond. However, it is worth it to wear a retainer and keep the smile you have worked so hard to achieve. In most cases, you will be asked to wear the retainer every day, both day and night, for the first six months following the removal of your braces. After this time, your teeth are often more stabilized and you can switch to only wearing the retainer at night.
Your dentist will make every effort to ensure that your retainer is as fitted to your mouth as possible. They do this through making a custom appliance. As long as you wear it as prescribed by your orthodontist, it should fit comfortably without any pain.
The retainer is a wonderful device that makes it possible for you to take your braces off sooner. Wear it and take care of it and you will be happy you did.