After you finish corrective orthodontic therapy, your treatment probably won’t end. Most orthodontists recommend retainers for their patients. Because teeth have a tendency to shift back after treatment, this orthodontic device helps keep your teeth in the right position. Your orthodontist will determine how long you need the retainer for successful results, but patients often wear retainers for 12 to 24 months.
A retainer can be fixed or removable. As well, your retainer may be clear plastic or attached to a light-colored base with metal wires. Often, the top retainers can be taken out, but the ones for bottom teeth are cemented in place for the duration of treatment.
Once your braces come off, your orthodontist will take impressions of your teeth and use these molds to generate your retainer. Initially, you may need to wear your retainer at night and during the day. Your orthodontist will monitor your progress and adjust that schedule accordingly.
When you have a retainer, it’s important to take proper care of your appliance. Remember to:
• Keep the appliance in a safe place. You will probably receive a case, so make sure to put the retainer away when you aren’t wearing it.
• Clean your retainer. Part of good oral hygiene is brushing or soaking your appliance to remove germs and bacteria.
• If it breaks, contact your orthodontist right away. Don’t try to fix the retainer yourself because you may do more damage.
• Take your removable appliance out to eat or brush.