The Importance of Wearing a Retainer

girl holding retainer

If you’ve had or currently have braces, then you know how much time and effort goes into the process! Brushing and flossing become more difficult, you must avoid certain foods, and there are frequent trips to the orthodontist for adjustments or other appointments. Braces require dedication (ex: wearing your rubber bands) and can sometimes be painful.

However, the minute you get your braces off and see your new smile reflected in the mirror, all that inconvenience is forgotten. It’s all totally worth it! Braces give you a bright, healthy smile that brings out the best in you.

Of course, once you have that beautiful smile, it’s important to maintain it. You certainly don’t want to get braces again due to shifting teeth, which is common if no precautions are put in place to prevent it. Retainers help keep your teeth in place and maintain the smile you worked so hard for.

Retainer Types

There are different types of retainers, each with specific benefits.

Fixed retainers are glued behind the front teeth (usually the lower but sometimes the upper as well). They aren’t removable, which is a benefit to many people because they don’t have to worry about forgetting or losing them. However, not all patients are good candidates for fixed retainers. Those that are prone to periodontal problems may do better with a removable retainer.

There are multiple types of removable retainers as well, and your orthodontist can discuss the specifics and which type is best for you. Whichever type you receive, your dedication to wearing them and caring for them properly is key.

Most people wear a removable retainer full-time the first six months after having their braces removed (with the exceptions of while eating, brushing or flossing). After that, you can switch to wearing them only at night. Retainers should be cleaned at least once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and kept in their case when not in use. They are breakable, so treat them with care. And one final tip — watch out for pets! For some reason, dogs love to chew on them.

Retainers aren’t always convenient, but then again neither is having braces for the second (or third) time. With commitment to wearing and properly caring for your retainers, they will last for years and help you maintain your beautiful smile. At Hunter Family Orthodontics, our goal is to get you to your best smile — and then keep you there!

If you have questions about which type of retainer is best for you, or if you need to replace one, please contact us today.