There is no way around it – when you wear braces, afterward you must wear a retainer. It’s the only way to keep your newly shifted teeth in place and maintain their alignment. The effort isn’t as huge as many people make it out to be. In fact, your orthodontist does everything possible to simplify retainer wear so patients will comply with what they need to do for their oral health.
Types of Orthodontic Retainers
Retainers can be as colorful and fun as the elastics used on conventional braces. Not only do you get to express your personality through your retainer, or opt for the most discreet type available, you have the power to choose the type of retainer you want, as long as it’s right for your teeth. Consider your lifestyle as you consider how this appliance will fit into it, whether you want a removable, fixed, clear, or metal retainer.
The Importance of a Retainer
It is possible for your teeth to relapse and move back to their own positions after braces treatment or Invisalign treatment is complete. It’s even possible for them to look worse than they did before without support. This is where a retainer comes in. Wear the appliance as instructed and it will remain a well-fitting element that maintains your newly shifted teeth and jaw.
The Timeline for Wearing a Retainer
Your orthodontist will recommend wearing your retainer around the clock (except for meals and cleanings) for the first several months after your braces are removed. If things seem to be going well and you’re dedicated to this process, you may graduate to only wearing the appliance at night. You’ll be free every day, all day, and at night while you’re sleeping you will reinforce the new positions of your straight teeth.
Instructions for Tweens, Teens, and Adults
It doesn’t matter what age you are when you get braces or Invisalign. If you’re 14 or 44 and you’ve finished Invisalign or conventional braces, you’ll need a retainer afterward. You have expended plenty of time, energy, and expense to align your teeth – the last thing you want is to destroy all that effort just because a retainer seems annoying.
How It Feels to Wear a Retainer
It can feel weird wearing a retainer on your teeth after more than a year of conventional braces, but for Invisalign or Invisalign Teen patients, it’s more of the same – another slim-fitting appliance that snaps onto your teeth to do its work. Either way, you adjust quickly, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to have your teeth unencumbered for many months. Some retainers are permanent, and they won’t interfere with your daily life, while others are removable and let you do whatever you like with no restrictions.
Consequences of Not Wearing a Retainer After Braces
If you forget to wear your retainer one night or go on a brief trip and leave it at home, this isn’t the end of the world and shouldn’t negatively affect the orthodontic work done on your teeth. Push the absence of hardware for too many days, though, and you’ll notice your teeth beginning to shift. It’s in your best interest to follow the rules and wear your retainer every day as instructed.
Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Roberts or de Marsche at Lawrenceville Orthodontics in Lawrenceville, NJ.