One of the most satisfying parts of working in the Orthodontics department is seeing the smile on a patients face after they’ve completed their orthodontic treatment. Is that it? Am I done? NO…you are not done. The next step is retainer use.
Definition of RETAINER: a thing that holds something in place
Think of all the work you’ve put in this far- all the time you spent in either Braces or Invisalign, all the visits to the Orthodontist, all the extra time brushing and flossing- never mind all the money spent on treatment. Why would you want those perfect teeth to move?!
If you want your teeth to look the same as the day you finished your orthodontic treatment, you NEED to wear your retainers. Your retainers are custom made, so they will HOLD your teeth in their finished position to maintain that perfect smile. Retainers prevent teeth from shifting so they don’t become crowded again. Shifted teeth cause problems; they are hard to keep clean and can progress into bigger problems like traumatic occlusions.
Teeth will move. Changes and movement of the teeth are lifelong. Everyone is different, some people’s teeth will move faster than others. There are people that can go days without wearing a retainer and not have any movement. Other people can have movement occur in as little as a couple of hours. We cannot predict whose teeth will move more than others...
Clear retainers or Hawley (wire in the front with plastic in the back) retainers are the best. They are easy to wear and easy to keep clean with soap and water. A fixed wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth makes it harder to keep clean and can break at the most inopportune time.
Get into a good bed time routine of brushing, flossing and putting your retainers in.
So, when we hear, “How long do you need to wear your retainers?”, If you want straight teeth, the answer is…. FOR LIFE
By Lori Williamson, Orthodontic Clinic Coordinator