Having a perfect smile is a dream for a lot of people. For many, that means years of braces and orthodontic treatment. But did you know that treatment doesn’t end after braces? To keep your fantastic smile, you need to wear a retainer for the rest of your life. As shocking as this may seem, there are some fundamental reasons for why retainers are important.
What Are Retainers?
Getting braces removed is an exciting time for anyone. You finally have the smile you’ve dreamed of! However, the work isn’t over yet. If you want to keep that smile, then you will need to wear a retainer.
A retainer is a transparent plastic device designed explicitly for your teeth to make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. Your orthodontist creates your retainer from a mold or image of your teeth when you have your braces removed.
Retainers need maintenance like your teeth. You brush them at night and in the morning to keep them clean from food and bacteria. Soaking in a mix of mouthwash and water also gives it a minty taste.
Why Do You Wear Retainers?
When you wear braces, they move your teeth by stretching ligaments and changing bones in your jaw. Once your teeth are in their final position, new ligaments and bone grow around the tooth. This process takes about a year to complete.
In order to ensure that this process is successful and your teeth remain in their new positions, you need to wear a retainer on a regular basis. The only time you don’t wear it is when you eat. If you don’t wear your retainer during this time, it is easy for your teeth to move back into their original position.
Do You Wear Them Forever?
After the first year of wearing your retainer continuously, your teeth stabilize from the orthodontic treatment. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t continue to move. As you age, your bones continue to grow. Your jaw bone can also deteriorate and make teeth less stable. These changes happen over decades. So if you wear your retainer three or more nights a week throughout your life, your teeth will remain in the ideal position.
Does One Retainer Last a Lifetime?
Most retainers hold up for 2 to 10 years with proper care, and many orthodontists have replacement plans. Since they are small and hard to see, it is easy to lose them. If you keep your original mold, you can get a new retainer from any orthodontist. If you don’t have your mold, see someone right away after losing your retainer so they can make a new one before your teeth move around.
Hopefully, after reading this post, you can see why retainers are important. Wearing retainers is an essential part of life after braces. By wearing them consistently, your smile stays beautiful for years to come.