What is an Orthodontic Retainer? Why Do I Need One?

orthodontic-retainerAfter you receive your orthodontic treatment, you will need customized orthodontics – known as ‘retainers’. They hold your teeth into place after we remove your braces. This ensures that the positive benefits of the braces continues to last for the years to come. There are several different types of retainers, depending on the severity of teeth misalignment prior to receiving braces, and the duration that you would need to wear these retainers depends on how well your teeth have recovered.

It’s important to wear your retainers often – every night at first. Even though your braces have been removed, your teeth are still gradually moving and shifting. Without a retainer to remind them where they are supposed to be situated, they may fall back to their misaligned position. A retainer is a gentler way of enforcing this alignment without being as obstructive as braces.

After your braces come off and retainer goes in, you’ll visit us for routine check-ups to determine which type of retainer is necessary to continue to facilitate proper teeth alignment. We may advise you to keep wearing your retainer, or we may allow you to wear them less often. It all depends upon our examination of your alignment. It’s very important to wear your retainers very often after you first receive them!

How Orthodontic Retainers Work

While your teeth look and appear perfectly aligned after wearing braces for a year or two, your gums and jaw bone are still adjusting. The gums have a tendency to push teeth back into their original positions. A retainer stabilizes the teeth and prevents them from returning to their misaligned state. Initially, a patient wears their retainer day and night following a orthodontic braces procedure.

They are custom-made to fit your mouth and the formation of your teeth. You should feel very little to no discomfort. With the braces gone, a simple retainer is often warmly welcomed by our patients who didn’t like the feeling of metal wires in their mouth!

Unfortunately, patients who don’t wear retainers as often as we advise tend to have teeth shifting toward their original misalignment. In the worst case scenario, we regret to inform them that they would need orthodontic braces again to restore the straightness of their teeth.

After we remove your braces we will advise you what retainer would be ideal for your mouth, and we will provide you more specific information and maintenance tips for the proper care of your new retainer.