Keeping Your Teeth Straight Post-Braces
If you have been wearing braces for years, you are probably looking forward to the day when you finally get to have yours removed! Of course, you are excited about finally getting to see your improved smile, with your teeth perfectly aligned. Imagine how enjoyable your first meal will be, too!
Before you get too excited though, there’s one thing you need to know about first – retainers. Yes. When it comes to keeping your teeth straight post-braces, retention plays a very important role.
Why Should I Wear a Retainer?
Just because your braces are now ready to be removed doesn’t mean your teeth won’t move anymore. The remodelling process done with your bone that has helped transform your smile didn’t start overnight. You can’t expect it to stop abruptly either. The pressure from your aligner trays or arch wire made the bone and the connective tissue around your teeth to slightly loosen up, shift, and rebuild the bone around the teeth in the new and corrected positions. This is a really slow and continuous process and it continues even after the pressure from the arch wire or the aligner trays is gone. That’s why you should be committed to wearing retainers after your braces are taken off, to ensure that you get to enjoy that amazing new smile for years and years.
How Does a Retainer Work?
Retainers act like brakes, preventing teeth from moving or shifting. Teeth like to shift little by little over time. Retainers tell the roots of your teeth to stop moving, stay in place and properly aligned. There are some retainers that are fixed behind your teeth. The more common ones though are removable. They are made of a metal wire and acrylic fitted to your mouth, intended to guide your teeth. You have to remember though that retainers need to be worn regularly if you want them to work.
How Long Would I Have to Wear Retainers For?
The really crucial period is during the first six months after the braces are removed. This is because the teeth are still trying to move actively. For this reason, it is suggested that you wear your retainers for those six months full time. When that is over, you can start wearing your removable retainers only at night, for the rest of your life.
You have read right. You see, while your teeth are really strong, they also shift naturally. And the only way you can keep your teeth looking as good as they are now for as long as you can is to wear retainers. Remember that you only have to wear them at night.
Since you have already invested a lot of your time and (maybe your money, too) on your orthodontic treatment, it is only right that you take care of the results for the rest of your life. Talk to your orthodontist about your options, and the things you need to do to make sure your retainers are working for you.
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