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Importance Of Dental Retainers

Staff | May 17, 2019

So you’ve done it! You have attained one of your personal goals of acquiring a straighter, more beautiful smile! The day you remove your braces is a big day and rightly so. After all, you will finally be able to eat the foods you may have been advised to avoid for a few months or in some cases, years. But your orthodontic treatment isn’t quite over as yet. Your new smile just like with most things, needs to be maintained. Wearing retainers will now play a big role in making sure your chances of wearing braces again is non existent! Simply put, a retainer is a custom made plastic or metal appliance that is either fixed or removable, which is worn after a patient has their braces taken off. After orthodontic treatment, retainers are crucial to help maintain smiles by preventing teeth from going back to their original position.

Teeth are attached to the gums through various fibers and ligaments that keep them in place. During treatment, these fibers loosen due to the force of the braces. While Orthodontic treatment will fix misaligned teeth, it won’t prevent these changes from occurring. Retainers help prevent shifts and to stabilize all progress made. Worn overnight or sometimes longer, retainers can help sustain the position of straightened teeth.

Braces off, check. Last step of orthodontic treatment - retainers, check. So now that the final phase of treatment is underway, the big question is, how long are retainers necessary? There are many determinants that influence this last step. For the first 3 to 6 months after completing treatment, it is recommended that you wear your retainer all the time. After orthodontic treatment, the bone around the shifted teeth will still be soft. Wearing your retainers all the time ensures the teeth do not shift into the softer bone mass. Your teeth will start to stabilize in their new positions and, as such, you’ll only have to wear your retainer at night. You can protect your teeth and maintain the smile you want by wearing your retainers diligently for life.

Now diligently wearing your retainers is one thing, but caring for them is another and is equally important. Here are a few tips you should follow in order to maintain them:

  • For fixed retainers, you need to ensure that you floss between the wire. This helps to protect teeth from cavities and gum infections.
  • Avoid wrapping your retainer in tissue when you take your retainer out. You should always use the case that it came in.
  • Your retainer should be taken out before eating.
  • Food can get caught in your retainer which can cause bacteria growth if not cleaned properly. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth before placing your retainer back in your mouth.
  • As part of your nightly routine, keep your retainers next to your toothbrush. After brushing and flossing, insert your retainers before going to bed. After waking up, be sure to rinse your retainers and place them in their case.  

The success of your orthodontic treatment depends upon your ability to diligently wear a retainer. As you finish your orthodontic treatment, and with age, your teeth tend to naturally shift. Wearing your retainer is your best defense.

Quince Orchard Dental Specialists is excited to offer FREE Retention for LIFE! to our new orthodontic patients which will include one set of Essix retainers per year. Be sure to be on the lookout for our next newsletter to read about the details of this new program or come into our office to learn more! Get in touch with us and schedule your appointment by contacting us here.


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