After you finish orthodontic treatment, you should enjoy a stunning smile. Unfortunately, your teeth will naturally want to shift out of alignment. Most orthodontists have their patients wear retainers as the final phase of orthodontic therapy. These oral appliances work to keep teeth in the desired position.
What types of retainers are available?
At one point, orthodontists only used the plastic and wire retainers. This is still the most common type of retainer. Clear, plastic retainers have recently gained popularity. These devices also work well to keep teeth in place.
How long will I need my retainer?
Initially, you will probably wear your retainer about 22 hours a day. Your orthodontist will monitor your progress and let you know when you can cut the time back. Most patients will wear their retainers for several years after treatment to ensure that teeth don’t shift.
Should I wear my retainer while I play sports?
If your appliance fits well, you can wear the retainer because no risk exists to your teeth; however, the device could fall out and sustain damage. Keep in mind that retainers don’t function as mouth guards, so you still need to wear that appliance to protect your mouth.
How do I care for my retainer?
When you remove the appliance, make sure to gently brush and rinse it before storing the retainer. Always place the retainer in its case when you aren’t wearing the appliance so that it doesn’t get broken. Put the case in safe place, out of reach from young children or family pets.