The day has finally come when your braces can come off! But just when you thought your orthodontic treatment was over, your orthodontist tells you that you need to wear a retainer!
As much as we feel for you, retainers are equally as important in the orthodontic treatment process as braces are.
Why do you need a retainer?
Retainer are orthodontic appliances that are custom-made for patients out of a combination of plastic and wire. Your retainer is designed to ‘retain’ your teeth in their new, corrected positions.
After your braces are removed, your teeth need to settle into the soft tissue and jaw bone around them. This process takes time, and wearing a retainer will prevent your teeth from shifting out of their new positions after your braces are no longer holding them in place.
The best way to maintain the positive results of your orthodontic treatment is by wearing your retainer as prescribed.
How long should your retainer be worn?
For most patients, retainers are worn for about a year, but the time frame can vary quite a bit from person to person.
Your orthodontist will carefully monitor the stability of your teeth while you wear your retainer, and make a recommendation about whether you should wear it full time, or part time.
Are retainers comfortable?
You may occasionally feel some soreness, discomfort or pressure while wearing your retainer. This is normal, so don’t worry!
In the end, the more consistently you wear your retainer, the more comfortable it will be.