The Importance of Wearing a Retainer
After a patient has their braces removed or finishes with their last Invisalign tray, the next essential step in their orthodontic journey will involve wearing a retainer. These small appliances keep newly shifted teeth in place, and without them, the teeth would simply drift back to their original positions. At Shirck Orthodontics, we offer multiple types of custom-made retainers in Columbus that fit comfortably and ensure that our patients’ fresh, beautiful smiles will last for many years to come. Are you or your child about to finish an orthodontic treatment? If so, read on below to learn more about what’s ahead!
Types of Retainers
We provide 3 different types of retainers here at Shirck Orthodontics:
- Removable: Made using an impression of a patient’s mouth, these small plastic retainers are held in place using thin metal arms that go around the teeth, and they apply a slight amount of pressure to the teeth to keep them from moving. Typically, a patient will have separate retainers for their upper and lower teeth.
- Permanent: This type of retainer is a very thin metal bar that is cemented behind specific teeth that are very likely to become misaligned again after braces or Invisalign. In most cases, they are positioned behind the front bottom teeth.
- Invisible: These are made of clear plastic and comfortably slip over the teeth. To other people, it doesn’t look like the patient has anything in their mouth. Most Invisalign patients choose to get invisible retainers to maintain a discreet look.
When to Wear Retainers
Initially, a patient will be advised to wear their retainer(s) as much as possible, as the tissues that hold the teeth in place will be extra mobile following an orthodontic treatment. Removable aligners should only be taken out if a patient is eating or cleaning their teeth.
After months of consistent use and progress checks, eventually, a patient will only need to wear their retainer(s) to bed. We recommend doing this as long as possible, because this will ensure the teeth remain perfectly straight as someone ages.
How Long Do Retainers Last?
Removable/invisible retainers can last for a very long time if a patient takes proper care of them. What does this look like? Whenever someone brushes or flosses their teeth, they should also take a little time to brush and rinse their retainer with water as well. This will remove any leftover food debris and oral bacteria. As long as a patient remembers to take their retainer out whenever they eat, it should be able to last for several years.
Permanent retainers, just like their name suggests, can easily last for 30+ years if a patient doesn’t sustain some type of injury to the specific teeth they are attached to.
What Should I Do if I Lose or Damage My Retainer?
While it’s easy to keep track of a permanent retainer, it’s not uncommon for a removable retainer to become lost or damaged. Accidents happen! What’s important is that you A.) Don’t try to repair the retainer yourself, as this will likely make things worse, and B.) Contact Shirck Orthodontics right away. Simply not wearing your retainer may allow your teeth to move, but if you come to see us relatively quickly, we can provide the repair or replacement you need without delay.
Have more retainer questions? Have you or your child lost or damaged a retainer? We’re more than happy to help, so you’re welcome to give the Shirck Orthodontics team a call any time.
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