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Retainers After Braces – All You Need To Know

July 21, 2021

Congratulations on having braced through the orthodontic ordeal that’s called braces.
You finally have straight and aligned teeth. Something you cannot wait to show off. In-person and in pictures. But wait before you bid goodbye to your dentist.
Your braces are coming off. But the treatment isn’t over just yet. You have to wear retainers after braces to keep your teeth in their new positions.

Got questions? Lots!

We’ve got all your FAQs answered right here.

Read on.

1.   Why do I need retainers after braces?

Months after your braces are removed, your teeth can move back to their original position. Your teeth and soft tissues need time to adapt to the changes in the positioning. Retainers after braces help stabilize your teeth in the new arrangement. This ensures minimal chances of your teeth shifting the position or relapsing to their original position.

Retainers after braces are the most important for preteens and teenagers as their bodies are still in the developmental phase. Regular use of retainers in patients of that age is important to make sure that the growth of wisdom teeth does not cause overcrowding or misalignment.

removalble retainers After Braces

Other reasons to wear retainers after braces include:

  • Making the right space for wisdom teeth.
  • Stabilizing the bite
  • Help with speech hindrances.

Not wearing retainers is likely to cause a relapse. And you’d need dental intervention in the next ten or fewer years. With retainers, you can prevent this. While retainers are surely an inconvenience, they are much better than going back to braces. And it is a small price to pay for a picture-perfect smile.

2.   What are the types of retainers that I can wear after braces?

Dentists can prescribe three types of retainers after braces are removed.

Bonded retainers

Such types of retainers are attached to your teeth. These are the most suitable for situations when you must wear your retainers at all times after the braces are removed.

Hawley retainers

These are the removable kind of retainers. You can remove the Hawley retainers while eating or for cleaning them. However, make sure you follow your orthodontist’s instructions regarding these wire retainers.

Retainers After Braces

Clear plastic retainers

Popularised in recent years, such retainers are molded to fit the new positioning of your teeth.

Made of clear plastic, these retainers are also removable and practically invisible.

Don’t confuse them with Invisalign, though. Invisalign is used to straighten the teeth. Clear plastic retainers are used to make your teeth stick to their new position.

Which type of braces will fit your need varies on a case-to-case basis. Your dentist will be able to best decide the most suitable type.

3.   How many hours per day do I need to wear the retainers?

In the case of bonded retainers, you need to keep them on all day, every day, till your dentist decides otherwise.

But if you are prescribed removable retainers, your dentist will guide you regarding how many hours you have to wear them each day.

wearing the retainers

For the first 4 to 6 months, it is usual to be asked to wear the retainers all day, except for meal times and when you have to clean the retainers.

After that, you might be asked to wear the removable retainers only at night, when you sleep.

4.   For how long will I have to wear the retainers?

It is common to have to continue the use of retainers indefinitely. After the first couple of months, you might just have to wear your retainers at night. In such cases, you’d have to get your retainers replaced every couple of years.

However, that’s not a universal fact. Your attending dentist will be the best equipped to guide you about this. Expect to be asked to wear the retainers for at least nine months after you are done with your braces.

5.   What if I default on wearing the retainers for some time?

Your teeth are constantly moving. Without retainers, they’d change position. And if you wear your retainers after a couple of days or weeks, they might not fit. This means that you’d need new retainers now.

But that’s not all.

Because your teeth have shifted from their ideal position, some parts of your braces treatments would also have been undone in the process.

Thus, you should make sure that you always remember to wear your retainers as directed by your dentist.

6.   How do I keep my retainers clean?

Unhygienic retainers can become the root cause of several oral health issues.

How do I keep my retainers clean

Use the following tips to keep your retainers clean:

  • Every time you take your removable retainers out, clean them with lukewarm water.
  • Rinse your retainers often to avoid buildup and deposits.
  • You can also use specialized soaking liquids to soak and clean your retainers.
  • Once every day, you can gently brush your retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
  • Alcohol and bleach should not be used as these can damage your retainers.
  • If you are using clear plastic retainers, don’t use mouthwash or other staining liquids to clean or soak your retainers.
  • If you find food deposits in your retainers, remove them with a clean cotton swab dipped in water.
  • Never boil your retainers to sterilize them. Extremely hot water can affect the shape and fit of your retainers.
  • Maintain proper oral hygiene. Brush and floss regularly, as suggested by your dentist.
  • Avoid food items that can cause cavities and dental damage.
  • If you have bonded retainers, use a floss threader to clean any food particles that might have stuck in them.
  • Use warm, soapy rinse to clean your retainer case. This keeps your retainers free from dirt, germs, and bacteria.

Retain Your Perfect Smiles With Retainers After Braces

Once you have the perfect smile, thanks to braces, you should make it permanent by using retainers as suggested by your attending medical expert.

At Natural Smiles, we make sure you understand why you need retainers after braces, what type of retainers are the best, how to use them, for how long, and how to care for them.

To learn more and get advice based on your specific situation, schedule your consultation with our smile specialists today.

Book your FREE consultation now

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