The Importance of Wearing Your Retainers Post-Braces
For orthodontic patients in the Calgary area, there is nothing quite as exciting as hearing your orthodontist announce that your braces or Invisalign treatment is complete! At Surrideo Orthodontics we couldn’t be happier for you. Dr. Warren Cohen and his dedicated team love seeing your beautiful, new smile for the first time and the confidence that it brings all of our patients – especially our teens. After you’ve worked so diligently to wear your Invisalign aligners or keep your braces clean, you begin the very important phase of retention so you can protect that smile you’ve worked so hard to shape.
What Is The Retention Phase & Why Do I Need A Retainer?
The retention phase of your orthodontic treatment simply means wearing a custom-molded plastic orthodontic device as prescribed by Dr. Cohen. No matter which orthodontic treatment option you chose, you must wear your retainer consistently following your treatment in order to keep your teeth in their desired position. Your retainer has a thin metal band attached to the molded BPA-free plastic that wraps around and fits over your teeth to secure them in place. It may be permanently bonded to the inside of your teeth or it could be removable, designed to fit over your teeth and taken out when eating.
Even though your teeth are set in their correct position, your gums and bones, as well as the muscles of the lips and cheeks are still changing. As long as these elements are still developing, your teeth will have a tendency to move back to their original position. That’s where your retainer comes in. Your retainer eliminates the chance of teeth relapsing, or perhaps shifting into a more crooked position and ruining your perfect smile.
How Long Will I Need To Wear My Retainer After Braces?
How long you will need to wear your retainer depends on your age and your individual case. Once your teeth are moved into their correct position, new bone begins to grow around the tooth which helps to hold it in place. This bone remodeling can take some time – between nine and 12 months, or longer if your treatment was longer or more extensive. For younger patients, retainers are normally used 24/7 except for eating until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted. For adults, and as younger patients age, you will find that your teeth will naturally shift. After the first year, wearing your retainer at least periodically (often overnight a few times a week) for the rest of your life can help prevent this from happening.
How Do I Care For My Retainer?
Caring for your retainer is similar to caring for your Invisalign Teen aligners. You’ll likely wear it all the time, except when you eat and when you clean it. You’ll need your retainer to last a long time, so Dr. Cohen offers the following tips to his orthodontic patients to take the best care of it.
Any time you take your retainer out, be sure to store it in the retainer case provided by Dr. Cohen. This will ensure it doesn’t get lost in a napkin, or accidentally knocked off a table and stepped on.
It’s important to remove the plaque and bacteria from the surface of your retainer regularly. We recommend brushing after every meal with a soft-bristle toothbrush on the tissue side of the retainer to loosen the invisible bacteria and plaque and rinse thoroughly with cool or warm water. If you use toothpaste, be sure to choose a non-abrasive product.
Rinse your mouth and retainer with water if you can’t brush immediately after meals.
Consider soaking your retainer once a week in partial/retainer cleaner (like Retainer Brite). DO NOT use a denture cleaner as it is too abrasive on the metal pieces of the retainers.
Avoid hot water, sunlight, and soaking it in mouthwash. The plastic may break down or warp.
Moving your retainer in and out of place with your tongue or teeth could weaken the wires and may cause them to break. You could also chip some of the retainer off or chip a tooth.
Only place retainers on your teeth with your fingers.
Contact Your Orthodontist In Calgary Today
If you are a Surrideo Orthodontics patient and have any questions about your retainer or orthodontic treatment, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Cohen or one of his knowledgeable staff members our Calgary office at (403) 282-7878. We are committed to providing you with the best orthodontic care — from metal or clear braces or Invisalign treatment all the way through to the retention phase. We look forward to meeting you soon and beginning your journey to a new, beautiful smile!