Teeth retainers play an essential role in keeping teeth straight and healthy long-term. They maintain the position of teeth after orthodontic treatment and allow the bone holding the person’s teeth in place to heal. However, who can tell if they need a retainer or not?
Patients who have had their teeth aligned with braces use retainers. This is typically the final phase of orthodontic teeth straightening procedures and ensures that teeth stay in their new position. However, patients should listen to their professional orthodontist about the longevity involved and how many hours per day are needed to wear a retainer.
Although some patients may believe that orthodontic work is complete when braces come off, wearing retainers for the prescribed amount of time is essential. Not following the guidance of one’s dentist or orthodontist could undo the work of their braces.
Once a patient has a retainer, they will regularly return to their orthodontist for checkups. The orthodontist will make any necessary adjustments, such as bending or trimming wires for comfort.
A big outcome of 2021 is the D.I.Y. health movement. While some things are perfectly okay to create and make at home, a retainer should strictly be prescribed by a professional orthodontist.
D.I.Y. retainers can easily mess up the corrected work that was fixed by wearing braces beforehand, no patient wants to ruin their previous teeth straightening process.
The length of time a patient wears a retainer depends on their specific course of treatment and complexity. At times, an orthodontist will attach a permanent retainer to a patient’s teeth. They may leave this in place indefinitely, or they may replace it with a removable retainer after a period of time. But the patient should not remove their retainer for a long duration if they have been advised to not do so by their orthodontist.
Alternatively, orthodontists may decide to give a patient a removable retainer. Orthodontists may suggest that an individual wears that removable retainer almost 24 hours per day for the first 4–6 months. It just depends on the patient’s situation.
However, many orthodontists recommend that people wear their removable retainer at all times for at least 9 months. Following the initial period of constant wear, a patient may use their retainer only at night. A patient’s orthodontist will tell them how long to wear their retainer. This will likely be for 12 months or longer.
“Take your retainers out only when eating… and always put retainers in their case! Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants. NEVER wrap the retainer in a napkin or tissue, as they may be thrown away. If you put them in your pocket, they will break when you sit down. Also, Pets love to chew on them, so keep them out of reach!”
“Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, call us immediately.”
“Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.”
“Always bring your retainers to your appointments.”
No matter what, always consult an orthodontist’s professional experience first, instead of self-diagnosing what the complexity might be.
To learn more about our orthodontic care, visit Amazing Smiles with convenient locations in Cedarhurst, Brooklyn, and Forest Hills, NY. Amazing Smiles honors payment plans such as payment installments, insurance, flexible spending programs, and third-party financing.