People who have undergone a dental brace treatment wear retainers soon after the braces are removed. It is part of the whole treatment process of correcting misaligned teeth and fixing overbites or underbites.
The Importance of Dental Retainers
As its name suggests, retainers work to keep the teeth in place after the orthodontist has taken the braces off. Why this is necessary is because the teeth will still need to adjust to its new placement and close the gaps in between. And because the teeth and gums have been sore after years of tugging, tightening and loosening with braces, retainers are needed as its support and guide.
Disregard for wearing retainers can cause the teeth to shift back to its original place, and this is what the orthodontist will want to avoid.
Types of Retainers
Just like dental braces, retainers also vary in design.
- Traditional retainers have thin wires that go across the teeth or fasten to the molars. It also has plastic or acrylic that sticks to the roof of the mouth so that the whole appliance remains in place. This type of retainer helps with keeping the teeth aligned.
- Clear retainers come in the shape of the set of teeth. It looks like a mouth guard but it’s not immediately noticeable. This type of retainer is ideal for those who have grinding problems.
Duration of Wearing Retainers
How long a patient may need to wear the retainers depends on the orthodontist’s assessment. But on average, one could be wearing retainers for at least one more year after the removal of braces.
In the first few months, the dentist may require that retainers be attached to the teeth, even while sleeping and especially while eating. But as soon as the teeth has its roots securely set in the gums, it may no longer be required to wear it as frequent as before.
Adjustment from Braces to Retainers
Having retainers is a lot easier to manage because the dental appliance is not as rigid as braces. But it may feel a bit weird to wear one at first, which is actually common and normal. It’s also possible to encounter discomfort when talking for the first few days of wearing retainers, but this is something that constant practice and talking can’t fix. Most people who wear retainers complain of saliva build up in the beginning. Yet all these concerns will go away as soon as you get used to it.
Anytime that the retainers feel painful or cuts the gums and tongue, see the orthodontist right away so that it can be checked and re-adjusted.
Care for Retainers
Daily care and maintenance of retainers is a vital part of oral hygiene. Similar to braces, food particles can remain trap in the mouth, thus brushing thoroughly may be required. Because retainers can be removed, it’s actually convenient to brush it. Some prefer to soak this with a dental cleaning agent or a mouthwash, in order to clean the germs.
Do handle this carefully, as retainers have thin wires that can break. Its plastic material can crack if it gets too dry.
Never put your retainers in hot water or anywhere near a heat source, as this can alter its shape, which will affect the whole treatment.
Most people carry a tiny container with them for storing the retainer and keeping it safe from breakage and bacteria, when not in use. The container also ensures that you don’t misplace your retainer. It isn’t actually advisable to wrap retainers in tissues, as there’s a chance this can be mistaken for garbage.