So, you’ve finally gotten your braces off, finished your Invisalign, and you’re done with the orthodontist. Not so fast – after treatment, you’ll be fitted with a retainer to keep that smile perfect for years to come. Here we’ll address some common questions about getting a retainer and keeping your smile healthy long after braces from Orthodontists Dr. Amir Davoody, Dr. Rana Mehr, Dr. Thomais Ioannou, and Dr. Panagiotis Kyteas at Greater Houston Orthodontics.
In This Post, We’ll Cover:
- What are Retainers For?
- Are there Different Types of Retainers?
- How Long do you Have to Wear Your Retainer?
- How to Care for a Retainer
- What if My Retainer Doesn’t Fit Anymore?
What are Retainers For?
After having braces or Invisalign, you’ll be fitted for a retainer. A retainer is what keeps your smile straight and beautiful long past the day you stop wearing braces. These appliances keep your teeth in place as your jawbone solidifies post-treatment! During orthodontic treatment, the jaw and surrounding facial bones are moved frequently. Without retention (using a retainer!) there is a good chance of the teeth moving back to where they were before.
Are there Different Types of Retainers?
Removable retainers can be either clear and like Invisalign in appearance or can be made of acrylic and wire. These retainers can fit on the bottom or top of the mouth and prevent your teeth from relapsing. Sometimes a permanent retainer can also be installed by your orthodontist. Permanent retainers last for as long as you can maintain good oral health with them on your teeth!
How Long do you Have to Wear Your Retainer?
Right after you finish Invisalign or braces, you should wear your retainer as much as possible. When you aren’t eating, drinking, or playing sports, retainers should be in! Your orthodontist will tell you when you can switch to wearing it only when you sleep.
Eventually, the bones will solidify, and your teeth are less at risk for relapse, but you should wear your retainer a couple of nights a week to keep that smile perfect!
How to Care for a Retainer
Retainers should be cleaned every night when you brush your teeth. You can use your toothpaste and cool water. Keep retainers away from hot water, it can melt or disfigure the mold. For a deeper clean, you can try soaking your retainer in denture cleaner occasionally as well.
Pets love to eat your removable retainers, so be sure to keep them out of reach! You’ll need a replacement, and retainers have sharp edges that could hurt your furry friend.
What if My Retainer Doesn’t Fit Anymore?
It’s inevitable that you’ll forget to wear your retainer occasionally, and that’s OK! If you’ve missed a night or two, just pop it right back in. If your retainer is a bit tight, but you aren’t forcing it in, wear it more for the next few days as your teeth readjust.
If you begin to feel like you’re forcing your retainer in, or it genuinely doesn’t fit anymore, call your orthodontist. We want your bite and your smile to stay healthy and might need to revisit some treatment!