The one question patients ask the most often is, “Will I need to wear retainers after treatment?”
The short answer is: YES. Now for the long answer!
Why do I need to wear a retainer after treatment?
A lot of people think that when you get braces or Invisalign, that’s it. Your teeth will be straight forever. But unfortunately, that’s just not how our teeth and jaws work. Changes in tooth position are a totally natural phenomenon, and this will continue throughout your life, whether you’ve had orthodontic treatment or not.
After you complete your treatment, retainers will allow the bone that holds the teeth to rebuild. Your retainers will also prevent your teeth from going back to their original positions. Basically, braces or Invisalign will help you get the smile you want — retainers will help you KEEP your smile looking that way.
How long will I need to wear them?
Unless Dr. Reuland or Dr. Barnhart has prescribed you a different routine for your specific case, then the rule for wearing your retainers is: Night time for a lifetime. Because your teeth will naturally shift over time, it’s important to wear your retainer every night to keep the results you’ve worked so hard for! To make it easy to remember, it’s best to make wearing retainers a part of your regular oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss before bed, and wear your retainers at night for a lifetime (or as long as you want your teeth to stay straight).
Are there different options for retainers?
In general, there are two kinds of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers are the kind you can take in and out yourself. Fixed retainers are placed and removed by the orthodontist. For removable retainers, there are two types of those: clear retainers and wire retainers. Clear retainers basically look like Invisalign trays. They’re an exact replica of your teeth in their final position. Wire retainers are what you more commonly think of — made of wire and a plastic-like material. Which retainer you will use after treatment depends on your specific needs.
A Few Tips from Dr. Reuland
- Always carry your retainer case with you.
- Don’t stash your retainer in your pocket or purse. It can be damaged pretty easily.
- Never wrap your retainer in a napkin. It’s too easy to forget and throw it away!
- Dogs LOVE to chew on retainers. Always, always put your retainer in its case. If it’s not in the case, there is a 100% chance your dog will sniff it out and chew it up.