Firstly, congratulations on getting to the end of your orthodontic treatment! Secondly, it’s not quite over yet. We’ve spent the last two years carefully moving your teeth into the perfect position and without guidance, these teeth can move straight back. It is really important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to your braces if you don’t want to see your teeth relapse. Here’s what a retainer is and why you need to wear and care for your retainer after your treatment.
What is a retainer?
There are two main types of retainers which can be offered here at iSmile. A fixed retainer is a thin band of wire which is attached behind your teeth. It can be temporary or permanent and helps to hold the teeth in their new place. It is important to make sure you clean behind this wire regularly to prevent food getting stuck and causing decay. A removable retainer is a plate made from an impression of your teeth. This can be taken out when you eat, play sports and brush your teeth and makes oral hygiene very easy.
When do I wear my retainer?
Every patient is different but most people are advised to wear their removable retainer every night for at least six months after their braces have been removed. This allows time for the jawbone to form around the new teeth positions and hold them in place. If you don’t wear your retainer or only put it in sporadically, you will notice some discomfort when you insert the retainer as your teeth shift back into their original position. Some older patients must wear their retainers at night for the rest of their lives to stop the teeth moving back as the bones are less likely to mould securely around the teeth.
How do I care for my retainer?
A fixed retainer requires diligent brushing and flossing, often using a floss threader, to remove any lodged pieces of food. A removable retainer should be taken out when you eat and placed into a safe container. Don’t put it on the table as you may forget it! Every morning you should brush your retainer with a soft bristled brush and mild toothpaste to keep it clean. Dry it thoroughly before putting it somewhere safe.
More questions? Please do not hesitate to ask your orthodontist at iSmile for advice and information.