If you have a teenager who had braces or perhaps have even had braces yourself, you can probably remember the day those braces came off! What a great day! What a feeling of happiness and freedom! And it’s probably safe to say, it was hard not to stop and admire your new straightened teeth whenever you passed a mirror! While the most difficult part of straightening your teeth is behind you now, the process of keeping them straight is still an on going process. The process of getting the braces and spending all that money can go to waste if you don’t protect your progress with dental retainers. Why Are Retainers Required?
Teeth are held within the sockets of a bone, which allows them to be moved and readjusted. The purpose of braces is to readjust teeth within those sockets. This is accomplished by stretching ligaments on one side of your teeth while simultaneously compressing the teeth on the opposite side.
Once braces are off, teeth begin moving back to their original place. Retainers help the teeth “retain” their new position, and with time your teeth adjust to their new position. Retainers require a bit of getting used to and may seem a little strange at first, and might even slightly affect speech patterns, but with time you will get used to the retainer.
How Long Must You Wear a Retainer?
In the beginning, orthodontists recommend that the patient wear the retainer all the time for a couple of months. One can then gradually reduce wear to nighttime only. Most orthodontists recommend that patients continue to wear their retainers indefinitely.
How Are Retainers Made?
To make the retainers, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and gums. This is to help ensure that the retainer will fit as closely as possible. Bone tissue and gum in the jaw of your mouth will also reshape to the newly adjusted position of your teeth as part of the realignment process. Retention aims to preserve or keep the improved arrangement of the teeth produced by the braces.
There are instances where the teeth may align at a quicker rate than the soft and hard tissues around them reshape. Although the teeth may appear straight, once the braces are removed, your teeth could revert to their original misalignment. During this stage, retainers are used to hold the teeth fixed while the gaps between the teeth move into a more natural arrangement. They may also be used in the gums, muscles, tissues, and bones adjust to their new positions.
Retainers can be created out of different types of material, including metal and other materials. A type of dental retainer that is gaining popularity is the Clear Retainer. This retainer is composed of either polypropylene or polyvinylchloride (PVC) material. It is made by using a mold of the teeth and gums and fits over the entire arch of the teeth.
The Invisalign braces or aligners are often compared to Clear Retainers. Invisalign, however, tends to be used to move the teeth and help alleviate an orthodontic problem.
Advantages of Clear Retainers
1) Clear retainers help keep teeth in their new location since they are customized to fit over your teeth.
2) They may be more tolerable than metal braces.
3) Patients may be able to comply better with wearing clear retainers them for the required period per day since they are less noticeable (better aesthetics).
Care for Clear Retainers
Retainers more often get covered with plaque, saliva, bacteria and leftover food since you should wear them most of the time at least in the initial phases. Here are Tips for Cleaning Your Retainers so that they can stay clean, hygienic and fresh smelling:
– Rinse them with lukewarm water when you take them off to brush your teeth.
– Soak them in a retainer cleaning solution, once a day, taking heed of the package guidelines. Try not to drench them longer than should be expected, and never overnight or throughout the day. Rinse well in the wake of drenching.
-You can sometimes use a toothbrush and toothpaste. But, because a toothbrush can put scratches, use a soft-bristled one and non-abrasive toothpaste. Brush gently but thoroughly.
Cleaning your retainers is not a difficult process. It usually involves buying denture or retainer cleaner and letting them soak. Brushing them also helps loosen debris after or in between meals. If you have a fixed retainer, flossing and brushing are the best ways to keep your teeth and your retainer clean.
While initially it might seem like an inconvenience to wear a retainer, when all is said and done, it’s entirely worth the trouble to have beautiful, straight teeth! Follow these simple guidelines and let your hard work be reflected everyday in a smile that dazzles!
To create that perfect smile, it is important to choose the right dental professional. Dr. Halina Montano is an expert in helping you achieve that gorgeous smile! Conveniently located in Boca Raton, Dr. Montano is a leader in the cosmetic dentistry field! Call her team of professionals at 561-232-2070 and schedule your consultation today! Take that first step to creating your best smile today! You’ll be glad you did!