What is an Orthodontic Retainer?

After many years of wearing either metal or ceramic braces, the D-day is finally here. Your orthodontist informs you that you are going to get them removed. The removal process goes on smoothly with no fuss. Your teeth that were previously crooked or out of alignment are now picture-perfect. You can’t wait to take all those photos and selfies. But before you even start planning all those photo sessions, you hear that the doctor wants you to wear retainers for teeth. Why a retainer?

Well, in this educative article, we seek to give you all the answers on why you would need a set of retainers on your teeth.

Orthodontic retainers

Orthodontic retainers are customized dental devices that are used to keep your teeth in position after the removal of your braces. They are usually removable and are made either from clear plastic or wires. The use of braces has been confirmed as one of the most effective orthodontic treatments. It is also used for mild to severe dental issues. Due to the severity of the issue, it is recommended that patients should wear retainers.

Why? Well, there is always the possibility of relapse. In simpler terms, retainers reduce the possibility of your teeth returning to their former position. This would be so disheartening after many years of wearing braces. This is why orthodontic retainers are a critical part of the process. You must realize that your teeth are not used to the new position to which they have been set. Without proper measures, your teeth and bone will move back once you start eating food, leading to misalignment. Your teeth need time to settle into their new alignment, hence the need for a retainer.

Another big question asked by patients is the length of wearing retainers. We typically ask that you consult your orthodontist. After all, he or she has been with you longest and knows the severity of your dental problem. All things considered, it takes about three months to a year for your teeth to acclimate to their new position.

Other advantages of a retainer

  1. Correct poor speech patterns. Many people don’t know of this advantage. Wearing a retainer, especially for your child, can help in tongue placement. The tongue is responsible for the pronunciation of words. Its correct placement in your mouth is critical for forming sounds and words.
  2. Reduce the possibility of joint problems. Since your newly positioned teeth are set in place, there is little risk of your teeth moving around in their sockets with every bite or contact.
  3. Offsets enamel damage. With a retainer in place, you can be sure that your teeth are meeting at the right angle. This reduces the possibility of chipping and wearing away your teeth during each bite.