If you’ve spent months and months in braces, you likely will have a huge sense of relief when they are removed. You’ve longed to sport an unencumbered smile, and the time is here! Some people may even be disappointed when they learn that they will enter another phase of treatment – retention – in which they will need to wear a retainer. It is important to wear this appliance as directed by your orthodontist, however, to preserve the results of your treatment.
Understandably, patients may be impatient with the idea of yet another appliance that conceals their teeth after 18 months or more in braces. A retainer does not obscure your smile as much as orthodontic appliances do, however. Sometimes the appliance won’t even interfere with the smile’s appearance at all, depending on the design. Some retainers look very similar to the clear Invisalign trays that are barely detectable to a casual observer. Another style of retainer – the Hawley – is a thin wire attached to plastic that is custom-designed to fit snugly against the roof of your mouth. While the wire is visible, it’s not nearly as distracting as brackets and wires are.
You may wonder why your orthodontist wants you to wear a retainer at all. The results of orthodontic treatment can be reversed, and the teeth are quite likely to try to shift back to their original positions. Therefore, the retainer prevents your teeth from shifting in that way, thereby undoing all of the effort (and money) you invested in your orthodontic treatment.
Your orthodontist will advise you on how many hours you should wear the retainer each day, and this amount of time will slowly decrease over the course of several months. Eventually, you will be told that you can wear the retainer during sleep only.
Wearing your retainer is an important part of your orthodontic treatment, and if you fail to wear it as directed, you may find yourself in need of another round of orthodontic treatment to reposition the teeth again. We encourage you to take this aspect of your care seriously. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions about your retainer.
Contact our team at Bunn Orthodontic Group today!