When you first got your braces, your orthodontist Chatswood most likely told you that you would be wearing a retainer after you got them off. This is because the braces straighten teeth by moving them into their proper positions, but it also leaves teeth in these new positions after they are removed. Your retainers help hold your teeth in the position they need to be in.
What Is A Retainer?
A retainer is a device that helps keep teeth straight by making sure they stay in the correct position after braces are removed. It also protects them from shifting back into their previous locations.
While some retainers resemble your mouth’s natural teeth, most retainers are made out of plastic or ceramic, so they can easily slide in and out of your mouth. They also come in different shapes to match the needs of each patient.
If you never wear your retainer after removing your braces, you run the risk of teeth slipping back into their original positions over time, which will require you to get braces again.
How Do Retainers Work?
Retainers work by gently pressing against teeth, acting as an invisible brace. They prevent teeth from moving back into their original positions, but some people experience pressure inside their mouths while wearing a retainer. This is because teeth that were once crowded can now move into the space where they previously fit, but your jaw muscles will eventually get used to wearing a retainer and adjust to this exertion of pressure on a more consistent basis. They can also press against your tongue, cheeks, and soft pallet.
Retainers also put pressure on the surrounding gum tissues, which can cause soreness or bleeding in some patients. You can minimize this effect by regularly cleaning your retainer with toothpaste and water to remove plaque build-up, avoiding sticky foods like grapes and raisins that could leave stains on your retainers, and avoiding foods that are tough or chewy, like steak.
Retainers also allow you to talk, and they don’t affect the taste too much. However, if you have tongue piercings, your retainers may need to be adjusted because the retainer pushes against the metal in the piercing site.
Retainers may not fit as snuggly against the teeth as braces, which can cause food to get stuck in between them. But they shouldn’t fall out of your mouth either.
If your retainers are falling out too frequently, you may need a new retainer that provides more support. You should also check with your orthodontist if there are any gaps or spaces between your teeth.
If you are having trouble keeping your retainer in place, wear it for an hour or two at a time, to begin with, before gradually increasing the amount of time that you wear it during the day. Also, remember to remove it while eating and brushing your teeth, so food particles don’t get stuck between them. During this adjustment period, you may wish to eat softer foods.
How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer?
It depends on your age and how teeth move. If you are younger, your orthodontist will likely recommend wearing a retainer for at least two years after braces come off. This is because paediatric orthodontics patients’ bones are still developing and growing, making them more likely to have some tooth movement. Additionally, because your lips are still growing at this time, some retainers are made with bumpers, so they don’t affect the growth of the upper or lower lips.
Teeth will usually stay in place longer as you age. For adults, your orthodontist may recommend wearing a retainer until you are done growing, typically between 10 and 15 years old. This is because the shape of your face changes as you age, making it more difficult for the retainer to do its job.
For some patients, the shape of their retainers makes it difficult to brush their teeth since they can cover the top row of their teeth or cover the backside of their lower teeth. If this is a problem for you, ask your orthodontist about ways to clean these areas while wearing a retainer.