After investing time and money into getting your teeth straightened, whether through traditional braces or clear aligner therapy like Invisalign®, you will want to make sure your teeth stay where we shifted them into proper alignment. This shifting process can be considered phase one of your treatment plan.
Phase two involves keeping that alignment in place so your teeth don’t move back into their original position. This is called “retention” and is as crucial as your initial phase. We hope this blog will motivate you to wear your retainer as required so that you can enjoy your “new” smile for years to come!
What Are Retainers?
These oral appliances are tailored specifically for your bite to restrict shifting after alignment. Without them, over time, your pearly whites will want to move back to their original position. To prevent this movement, we provide several retainer options.
1-Hawley retainers: These consist of a plastic appliance with wires and clasps to retain your upper arch or rest along the tongue side of your teeth to keep your lower arch from shifting. You want to clean them after every use and store them safely in their container. Keep both cleaned to discourage oral bacteria.
2-Clear retainers: These clear plastic appliances fit snugly over your teeth and are pretty much invisible if you want to be discreet.
3-Fixed retainers: These permanent (or bonded) retainers consist of a thin wire permanently adhered to the inside surface of your upper or lower teeth so that moving out of alignment can’t take place. Only a dental professional can take them off of your teeth.
These custom oral devices are custom crafted for your smile. Once your teeth are aligned, we typically install a fixed retainer on the bottom front teeth and give you a removable retainer to maintain your upper teeth. They prevent an orthodontic relapse that works with your lifestyle and your expected compliance to make maintaining your alignment easy and effective for you.
Why Wear a Retainer?
You’ll want to stabilize your bite while the soft tissues and bone adapt to their new tooth positions after which your teeth will most likely not shift out of their position. This means you will initially need to wear your retainers for a minimum of 12 to 22 hours every day until your positional alignment has permanently settled.
Since straightened teeth can shift back to their previous position after your braces or clear aligners come off, wearing a retainer nightly for the time recommended by our orthodontist keeps this shift from happening.
Retainers allow your gums and bones around you newly aligned teeth time to align as well while stabilizing your bite. Not only that, but when it comes to fixing tooth gaps using orthodontics, it typically takes longer for your teeth to stabilize as well as your mouth adapts, and your retainer helps facilitate that.
Our Shenandoah Valley Orthodontics team is here to help you achieve the smile you want and help it stay that way! After putting in the hard work to create your dream smile, your customized retainer is your new best friend. Dr. Damon W. DeArment, Dr. Daniel J. Lill and our team are excited to help you! Call our team in Winchester and Front Royal, Virginia today!