Retainers aren’t exactly glamorous, but they are a vital part of many orthodontic treatments.
You may need a retainer after you are finished wearing braces or Invisalign®. In other cases, a retainer may be the only treatment you need.
To find out more about retainers and how they can help you create and maintain a beautiful smile, call Leiker Orthodontics at 832-510-6678 or contact us online. Our dentist offices are located in The Woodlands and Conroe, TX.
In today’s post, we will discuss some of the reasons you may need a retainer, as well as some tips for caring for it.
How Retainers Help Orthodontic Care
As we noted above, retainers can be part of your treatment or the treatment themselves. So, why do people need them?
► To reinforce the work done by your braces, Invisalign
If you are wearing or have worn braces or clear aligners, you know the treatment can take years to complete. You want that work to last, and retainers are often the final step in the process.
Once your teeth are where you want them to be — straight, evenly spaced, your top and bottom teeth aligned — a retainer will hold them there. Practically everyone should expect to wear a retainer at least temporary after her or his braces are removed or their Invisalign aligners fare taken out for the last time.
By wearing a retainer, you are holding your teeth in their new positions. Remember that your teeth may have been moving for two years or more. A retainer serves as a way to “tell” you mouth that this is where you want your teeth to be.
► To prevent relapse
In dentistry, relapse occurs when your teeth drift back toward their original positions. Like we mentioned above, when you undergo orthodontic treatment, your teeth can be on the move for years at a time.
When your braces are removed, your teeth may want to go back to where they started. By wearing a retainer, you can reduce the risk of relapse.
It’s important to point out that for some people, a retainer can become part of an of an ongoing treatment. If you are prone to relapse, you may need to wear a retainer while you sleep for the rest of your life to keep your teeth in place.
► To deal with minor orthodontic issues
Sometimes braces or Invisalign is more than a patient needs to fix their smile.
You may have teeth that are straight, but you have a gap you would like to close between your teeth. You may have a great smile with the exception of a single tooth that seems to be marching to its own beat.
In those cases, a retainer may be all you need to rearrange those few teeth or that tooth.
► To prevent new problems
Some people have a habit of thrusting their tongues into the back of their teeth. This can create alignment issues and affect how a person speaks. Some retainers can be used to prevent tongue thrusting and to retrain the tongue so the habit stops.
Caring For Your Retainer
If you do need a retainer, it’s important to care for it properly. This way you can get the maximum benefit of having it.
If you have a removable retainer, it is important that you wear it as instructed by Dr. Leiker. When you are not wearing it, you should store it in its case. This protects it against accidents as well as curious pets, who may try to chew on it.
Clean your retainer daily as needed. On a daily basis, you should clean your retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste. (A good time to do this is when you are brushing your teeth.)
You also need to clean your retainer a few times every week with Retainer Brite or a similar product. This is necessary to reduce odors and remove plaque that may have built up on the retainer.
Keep your retainer away from heat. That means you should not rinse it in hot water, leave it them on hot car dashboards, or store it in hot places when it isn’t being used.
Last, but certainly not least, bring your retainer with you to every orthodontic appointment. This gives Dr. Leiker a chance to examine it for wear and tear. He also can check how it fits in your mouth to determine if any adjustments may be needed.
And if something should happen to your retainer, contact Leiker Orthodontics as soon as possible so we can fix or replace it. You can reach us online or call 832-510-6678.