If your teeth aren't straight, you may have used braces or invisible aligners to improve your smile. Once you have the smile you've been dreaming of, you don't have to worry anymore, right? The truth is, to keep your smile beautiful, you need a retainer.
At Duval Orthodontics, our team has all the right tools to keep your smile looking perfect for a long time. Dr. J. A. Duval is our esteemed orthodontist who not only specializes in a variety of straightening options but also offers high-quality retainers to keep your smile looking perfect.
What does a retainer do?
Retainers are a vital part of your treatment after having braces. Retainers keep your teeth in proper alignment while they settle into their new, straighter bite. Braces or clear aligners take months to years to correct your smile, so preventing your teeth from shifting back needs to be a priority.
Depending on your specific situation and Dr. Duval’s recommendation, you may need to wear a retainer during the day for several months to keep your teeth straight.
Retainers aren’t just used for keeping your teeth in alignment. They also help to treat other issues, including medical problems, such as tongue thrusting in children. They may also be used if only a few teeth need to be corrected, or if you have a small gap between your teeth.
Types of retainers
There are three types of retainers, and Dr. Duval determines which one is right for you depending on your condition. The first is a bonded retainer. It is placed on your teeth with dental cement.
The second type is a Hawley retainer. That type of retainer is removable and is sometimes called a wire retainer. Although it’s removable, it still needs to be worn every day.
Last is a clear plastic retainer. It can be removed, but unlike the wire retainer, it’s virtually invisible. It’s molded to fit your teeth and should still be worn as directed by Dr. Duval.
When should you wear a retainer?
If you’ve had corrective orthodontic treatment with braces, you’ll need to wear the retainer at night indefinitely to keep your teeth from shifting. However, immediately after your braces are removed, you’ll need to wear the retainer during the day, too.
For convenience, a bonded retainer stays in all day, every day, because it is attached with dental cement until Dr. Duval gives the okay to have it removed.
A removable retainer, on the other hand, may need to be worn all day, except for when you eat or brush your teeth, for up to nine months. After that, you’ll most likely be able to wear it at night only.
Retainers are a vital part of the orthodontic process and should be worn according to Dr. Duval’s recommendation.
Why it's important for your smile
Retainers are vital to keeping your teeth straight after braces to limit relapse. Relapse is when your teeth begin to shift back into their original position before you were treated with orthodontics.
That is why you’ll need to wear your retainer at night for the rest of your life. Even after several years, if you stop wearing the retainer, your teeth begin to move and shift, leading to gaps or misalignment.
If you need a retainer or have more questions, call our office at one of our two convenient locations in Albany and Warner Robins, Georgia, to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment using our online booking tool.