The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer After Treatment

Retainer San Antonio, TX

You need to wear a retainer after your dental alignment. It may seem like a hassle to wear these oral appliances after finishing months of wearing braces or aligners. But it is not. This stage of dental alignment is important for the lasting results of your straightened teeth. Here are the details about the importance of wearing a retainer after your dental alignment treatment.

The retention phase

Once the dentist tells the patient that the time for aligners or braces is over, the next stage of the treatment begins. The retention phase is when the patient wears a custom-fit oral appliance. The retainer is a molded plastic with a metal band. It fits and wraps around the teeth, allowing it to stay secure. The retainer can be removable or permanent. The patient must take the retainer out during eating.

After straightening the teeth, the jawbone and gums, along with the cheeks and lips, are still unstable. The teeth will still have a risk of going back to misaligned positions. That is why the patient needs to wear a retainer. This dental appliance holds the teeth in straightened positions.

The length of time for wearing a retainer

The dentist will base the period for wearing the retainer on the patient’s case and age. Once the teeth move into straightened positions, the brand-new bone structures start to grow around each tooth. It may take at least nine to 12 months for the bone remodeling to complete. Younger patients must use this dental appliance all day, taking it off only when eating.

The retainers must stay on until the wisdom teeth erupt or until the dentist extracts them. Dental shifting will still happen for the rest of the patient’s life. That is why wearing this oral appliance until adulthood is important. Adults can wear a retainer overnight, three times each week.

How a retainer changes the teeth

Bones in the teeth will continue to remodel because of aging. The face of an individual between 20 and 50 years old will continue to develop. Teeth will keep pushing forward. This movement will cause dental crowding.

Dental crowding will happen even if the patient wore braces or had teeth extractions before. Wearing retainers longer will prevent late crowding. An individual must wear a permanent retainer for at least five years. Wearing a removal retainer each night for the rest of the patient’s life is necessary to achieve complete alignment.

Caring for a retainer

Maintaining and caring for a retainer is like maintaining and caring for aligners. The patient must place the retainer in a hard case after removing it during meals. This will keep the dental appliance secure. Cleaning the retainer before wearing it again will remove plaque and bacteria. Dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste for this task.

Refrain from using a denture cleaner for cleaning a retainer. Avoid soaking it in mouthwash. Keep it away from sunlight or hot water to prevent it from warping. Patients should have clean fingers when putting on the retainers.

Wearing your retainer after your teeth straightening treatment will stabilize the mouth

Follow your dentist’s instructions when wearing your retainer. This dental appliance is designed to keep all mouth components in place after a dental straightening treatment. You need to commit to wearing it for the rest of your life to maximize your dental straightening treatment. Working with your dentist can help target any issues that you may encounter while wearing your retainer.

Request an appointment here: or call UC Smiles Orthodontics at (210) 672-1054 for an appointment in our San Antonio office.

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