Why Retainers Should Be Worn After Braces

Ensure perfectly straight teeth are forever

By Azra Shuib | September 23rd, 2022

The grand reveal after a period of wearing braces is always exciting. Perfectly aligned teeth and a more confident smile of your dreams are finally yours. But, don’t get too carried away that you forget how to care for them for a long time. After you are done with braces, the doctor will give you a piece of plastic and metal known as a retainer. 

What is a retainer?

Retainers are custom devices designed to hold your teeth in the right position. They are commonly given to people (kids and adults) after having their braces taken off. Some patients may also wear retainers for medical issues or to improve speech issues.

Retainers are made customized, hence an impression of your teeth must be made in order to create retainers that can fit the teeth properly. The process may take up to 7 days for the completion.

Why should I wear a retainer after braces?

Usually, when braces are removed, teeth can shift back to their original position as we bite and grind on food daily, hence retainers are used to maintain the position of the straightened teeth.

Most patients would have to wear their retainers all day for 3 months, but after that, they may wear them at night only. Some people may also just need to wear their retainers at night only, but for more than a year. It can be uncomfortable at the start, but as time passes and you have adapted more to the retainers, they won’t feel uncomfortable anymore and you can sleep fine.

Other importance of wearing retainers include:

1. Stabilizing Bite

After braces removal, the bone and soft tissues will need to adapt to the new position of the teeth. The retainers can help to stabilize teeth in a new position and ensure no shifting or relapse. To achieve this, patients need to wear their retainers for at least 12 to 22 hours for at least 2 months.

2. Right Spacing for Wisdom Teeth

By using retainers, teeth are stabilized and the space required for wisdom teeth can be maintained. Shifting of the teeth due to the incorrect ways of wearing retainers can cause crowding due to lack of space.

3. Avoiding Treatment Reversal

The teeth will tend to move back into their initial positions after wearing braces, and retainers can help to prevent this. Therefore, wearing retainers is one of the most cost-effective ways to sustain the results you get with braces.

4. Improving Speech Issues

Some people have difficulty saying certain words due to the placement of teeth, so they need retainers to help form the sounds correctly.


Retainer Types

i. Removable Retainer:

Typically, this type is worn all the time for 4 months to a year. It is only removed when eating or brushing the teeth. After a prescribed period of time, the orthodontist will check on the teeth movement to ensure they are stable and determine how long you would need to continue wearing the retainer.

ii. Fixed Retainer:

This type is bonded to your teeth in an unobtrusive spot. Fixed retainers need to be worn for a long time, possibly years. But because a fixed retainer can’t be removed while eating, patients have risks of periodontal issues, especially when no strict oral care is practised.

Retainer Care

· Always brush the retainers with toothpaste after using

· Always soak the retainers in clean water while not in use

· Avoid exposure to sunlight 

· Avoid soaking in hot water or putting it near a heat source

For a high-quality retainer prescription, book our treatments below:

Aesthetic Dentistry @ Rome   

Retainer @ Chiang Mai

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