Life After Braces

Retainers are the unsung heroes of orthodontic treatment—often overlooked but incredibly important in maintaining your beautiful smile.

Preserve Better Alignment

The primary role of a retainer is to maintain the new position of your teeth after your braces come off. Teeth have a natural tendency to shift back to their original positions, especially right after orthodontic treatment when they’re not fully settled in their new arrangement. A retainer ensures that your teeth stay in their corrected positions, preventing any regression.

For the best long-term results, follow the guidelines your orthodontist recommends to keep your new, beautiful smile perfectly aligned.

Prevent Orthodontic Relapse

After having your braces removed, the last thing you want to do is have them replaced. Without a retainer, your teeth can start shifting back to their former positions within days or weeks. This phenomenon is called orthodontic relapse. It’s the body’s response to the subtle forces exerted by the tongue, cheeks, and lips. Retainers act as a guard against orthodontic relapse, providing stability and preventing your teeth from reverting to their former misaligned positions.
Wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist to prevent orthodontic relapse and to ensure your beautiful smile stays beautiful for years to come.
Support Bone and Tissue Adaptation

After your braces are removed, the bone and tissues around your teeth need time to adapt to their new positions. Wearing a retainer aids this process, allowing the bone and tissues to solidify around the corrected teeth alignment. This stabilization is crucial for long-term success in maintaining your new smile.

Give yourself the gift of time—the time your body needs to adapt to the new position of your teeth. Wear your retainer in accordance with the after-braces treatment plan your orthodontist suggests.

Types of Retainers

Removable Retainers

Modern removable retainers are often made of clear plastic or acrylic and fit snugly over your teeth for almost invisible protection. They’re easy to remove for eating and cleaning and for those special occasions when you don’t want the hassle of wearing a retainer. However, they require discipline to wear as prescribed by your orthodontist because they are so easily removed.

Tips to Remember to Replace Your Retainer

  • Set ongoing reminders on your smartphone for routine remove/replace schedules.
  • Coordinate your routine remove/replace schedule with an activity you’re already accustomed to doing regularly, such as brushing your teeth or washing your face.
  • Place your retainer in the same place at the same time every time you remove it. For example, if you remove your retainer for lunch every day, always place it in its container next to your drink to the right of your plate. Replacing your retainer will become a habit that you’ll rarely forget.
  • Set an alarm for 15-30 minutes the moment you remove your retainer to eat. Your alarm will remind you to replace it if you haven’t remembered already.

Fixed Retainers

Sometimes called bonded or permanent retainers, fixed retainers are thin wires bonded to the backs of your teeth. They are not visible and offer continuous protection because they’re fixed in place. While they’re highly effective, they require extra attention when cleaning to prevent plaque buildup.

Retainer Care and Maintenance

Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

Your orthodontist will provide specific guidelines on how long and when to wear your retainer. It’s crucial to adhere to these instructions diligently to ensure the best results.
Keep It Clean

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential whether you opt for a removable or fixed retainer. Clean removable retainers daily using a soft-bristle toothbrush and mild soap. Avoid using hot water as it can distort the retainer’s shape. Dental floss and interdental brushes are necessary to prevent plaque buildup on fixed retainers.

Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions for keeping your retainer clean and free of bacteria.

Regular Check-ups

Continue to visit your orthodontist for follow-up appointments as recommended. They can monitor your progress and make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure your teeth stay aligned.

Wear a Retainer After Orthodontic Treatment

Wearing a retainer might be a bummer after completing orthodontic treatment. But it’s a necessary step to protect the investment you’ve made in your smile. When you follow your orthodontist’s recommendations and take good care of your retainer, your straight, beautiful smile will last a lifetime.

Remember, the success of your orthodontic treatment doesn’t end when the braces come off—it continues with regular retainer wear and responsible retainer maintenance.
Contact the offices of Reuland and Barnhart Ortho in Lindale and Tyler for more information.