Keeping Your Teeth Straight: Why You Need Retainers After Braces

June 29, 2023

Retainers after braces are an essential part of any orthodontic treatment. After you get your braces off, it's necessary to wear a retainer every day to ensure your teeth stay straight and healthy as they settle into their new positions. However, many people need to understand why retainers are so important or how long they should be worn after getting braces. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of retainers after braces and how to care for them properly. 


What Are Retainers?

Retainers hold your teeth in place after you have had braces removed. They come in two types: removable and fixed (bonded retainers). 


Removable retainers are made of plastic and metal wires that fit over your teeth. They can be taken out to eat, brush your teeth, or for other activities. Clear retainers are also available, which are nearly invisible when worn on the top row of teeth.


Bonded retainers are permanently attached to the backside of your front teeth, so they always stay in place. You do not have to remove them when you eat or clean your teeth.


There are pros and cons to each type of retainer. Removable retainers can be more comfortable but must be taken out regularly to clean them. Bonded retainers may cause minor discomfort while eating if you aren't used to them and are harder to clean. Talk to your orthodontist to determine the best type of retainer for you.


Why Are Retainers After Braces Important? 

Retainers after braces are essential for maintaining your new teeth alignment. Without wearing a retainer, your teeth will return to their original positions over time. This is because the ligaments that hold your teeth in place begin to stretch as they adjust to the new positions of your teeth. Wearing a retainer prevents this from happening by keeping the ligaments tight and preventing movement of your teeth. 


Why Do I Need to Wear Retainers After Braces?

It is important to wear retainers after braces because your teeth are still settling into their new positions. After removing your braces, the bone and soft tissue supporting your teeth need time to restructure and solidify. Without a retainer, your teeth will shift back toward their original position over time, gradually undoing the corrections you achieved while wearing braces. 


Benefits of Wearing Retainers After Braces

After-braces retainers serve several key benefits for patients: 


  • They help keep your teeth straight and healthy. And wasn't that one of the main reasons you got your braces on in the first place?


  • They reduce the risk of damage to your teeth caused by grinding or misalignment. This can help prevent dental problems like cavities and gum disease.


  • They help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Wearing your retainer after braces will help keep your teeth looking their best and most attractive while also maintaining the results you achieved while wearing braces.


  • They can prevent costly future orthodontic treatments if your teeth shift out of alignment again. Wearing your retainer will help prevent further orthodontic treatments if your teeth move and need to be realigned.


When Can I Stop Wearing My Retainers?

The length of time you need to wear your retainers after braces varies from person to person. Generally, orthodontists recommend wearing your retainer full-time for the first six months of treatment. 


After that, most patients can switch to nighttime wear only. However, some people may be required to wear their retainer for extended periods, depending on the complexity of their case and other factors. Your orthodontist will develop a specialized treatment plan that meets your needs. 


How Can I Take Care of My Retainers?

Taking care of your retainer is crucial to keeping your teeth healthy and straight after braces. Make sure to follow the instructions given by your orthodontist for cleaning and wearing your retainer, as well as any other special maintenance or adjustments that may be needed. 


And if you're having trouble with the retainer or have any questions about its use, don't hesitate to contact your orthodontist for help and advice. Taking good care of your retainers is essential to ensure they last as long as possible. Here are a few tips for taking proper care of them:


Store it in its proper box 

Always store your retainer in its labeled box when not in use and away from pets or other people. Doing so will help protect your retainer from dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants.


Clean it regularly 

It is essential to clean your retainer at least once a day with mild soap and warm water. This will help keep it free of bacteria and debris that could lead to tooth decay or gum disease. You can also purchase special cleaning tablets for retainers if you prefer. You can find these at most drugstores and pharmacies. 


Don't forget to wear it

If you want the best results, remember to wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist. Doing so will ensure that your teeth stay in their proper alignment. 


Replace it as needed 

Retainers may need to be replaced periodically due to wear and tear, so check with your orthodontist if you think yours needs replacing. Your orthodontist can also help you determine when to stop wearing them altogether. 


To Recap…

Retainers after braces are essential to keeping your teeth straight and healthy. Wearing them full-time for the first six months is recommended, after which you may switch to nighttime wear only if deemed appropriate by your orthodontist. 


Making sure to take proper care of your retainers will help make sure they last as long as possible and are effective in maintaining your beautiful smile. ​


Quest Lifetime Retainer Program

At Quest Orthodontics, we're committed not just to giving you that captivating smile, but also to making sure it lasts a lifetime. 


We understand the importance of retainers in maintaining your perfect alignment, and we're well aware of the small frustrations that come with it. That's why we've crafted the Quest Lifetime Retainer Program - your ticket to lifelong smile perfection!


With this program, you receive two clear retainers every year, for life, guaranteeing your dazzling smile stays exactly that - dazzling. 


Our promise is simple: your investment in a beautiful smile shouldn’t have an expiry date. So why wait?  Visit our Lifetime Retainer Program page to learn more about the service and schedule your virtual or in-person assessment.


And if you’re seeking other orthodontic care, you can schedule your smile assessment with Quest Orthodontics today!

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