Congratulations. You have completed the entire process of braces. Now your teeth look fantastic. To keep that beautiful smile, it is important to maintain your smile. How can this be achieved? With the help of a RETAINER.
You have probably seen people at work or at school take out their retainer before eating lunch or having a snack. Carefully, they place it in a plastic container to make sure that it’s safe while they eat. You can tell that this small plastic and metal mouthpiece is important to them. You might have wondered why. Well let’s find out.
WHAT’S A RETAINER?
A retainer is a piece of plastic and metal that is custom-made for each individual who needs one. No two retainers are alike, even though many look similar.
Did you know that retainers are common? In fact, most people (kids and adults) who have braces have to wear a retainer for at least a little while after getting their braces taken off. Other people wear them to close gaps in their teeth, to help with speech problems, or to solve certain medical problems. In the case of braces, wearing a retainer will determine how a patient’s teeth will look for years to come. Once a patient’s treatment is completed, they will receive retainers to hold their teeth as perfectly as when the treatment was finished. At Aura Orthodontics, we will provide patients with detailed instructions on wear and care of retainers the day they receive them.
Patients wear retainer as long as needed. In some cases it’s just few months (for a less complex case) or maybe some more months or even few years. In such cases there was a very complex orthodontic case and this is needed to “secure” a patient’s wonderful results.
After all the braces treatment stages, patients will find that a retainer is just a simple device to be worn, in some cases (if bonded) it’s just a small “wire” glued to the back of their teeth. Over time, they won’t even notice it. If it’s a mobile device (the one to be taken off and then placed again), it’s still something that can be easily managed.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN UPPER AND LOWER RETAINERS
The upper retainer has more acrylic with wire set into it to help maintain the space between certain teeth. A wire is attached to each side of the retainer and extends around the front teethand keeps teeth from moving back. The lower retainer has less acrylic as the tongue lies in the bottom of the mouth. It follows the tooth line and slightly pushes against the teeth, to prevent them from returning to their original positions.
KEEPING CARE OF A RETAINER
To keep teeth healthy, it is recommended to clean retainers daily from food particles, germs and plaque. Simply rinsing may not be enough. Some antibacterial soap with toothbrush may help to remove the plaque. Keeping retainers clean prolongs their useful life and helps the mouth stay healthy.
FUN PART OF RETAINERS
As with braces, retainers can come in different colors. It’s not only fun, especially for young patients, but color makes them stand out when you’re looking for them. Just to add to the fun, be sure to get the colored case too.
WHAT HAPPENS IF RETAINERS ARE NOT WORN?
When we end orthodontics treatment, we get the teeth into the correct position and alignment perfect for a healthy bite and even a beautiful smile. But teeth can tend to go “back” and this happens most of the cases if a retainer is not worn properly. Retainers help the teeth “learn” the new correct place and makes the treatment a success.
In some extreme cases, not wearing a retainer makes the braces have to be placed again and the whole procedure has to be repeated. If the retainers are not worn for few days and the retainer, which is provided by our office, does not fit, this should be reported to us immediately. It is at this time that we can try to solve this problem and provide a patient with another retainer depending upon the condition.
Please note that treatment means wearing some sort of an orthodontics device for as long as needed, plus many other bits and pieces that will come and go as teeth get into the desired position. As always, Dr. Sharma and the team at Aura Orthodontics are always ready to assist with answering questions and helping to ensure the entire braces experience is educational and customized for every patient. If you have questions about a free orthodontic consultation or questions about your current treatment, contact our office.