As a Longmont orthodontist, our team at Twin Peaks understands just how excited many of our patients get when their braces finally come off. While having your braces removed takes you one step closer to enjoying the healthier, better looking smile you’ve always wanted it doesn’t mean your orthodontic treatment is over. The majority of patients will still need to wear a retainer to complete their treatment and protect their brilliant new smile.
In order for a retainer to work, it’s important that you only remove it while eating or when brushing and flossing. Failing to wear your retainer as frequently as required can cause your teeth to shift back towards their old, crooked position, thereby undoing all of the hard work accomplished by wearing your braces. So temper that excitement and remember to wear your retainer throughout the day.
It’s easier for many patients to stay vigilant about wearing their retainer if they fully understand the importance of this final stage of their treatment. With that in mind, here are some answers to commonly asked questions about why wearing a retainer is necessary.
What makes a retainer so important following orthodontic treatment?
If you’ve spent months or years working hard at correcting the state of your smile, it’s important that you don’t undo all of that effort. Retainers are a vital part of your orthodontic treatment, and if you don’t wear your retainer exactly as recommended by our Longmont orthodontist, you may see your beautiful new smile start to fade away.
The tissues and ligaments in your mouth need time to adjust to your teeth’s new positions. These ligaments possess a slight elastic quality that both allows them to be readjusted with orthodontics but also enables them to snap back into their previous position. A retain works to hold your teeth in their new position until the ligaments and tissues relax and set into place.
What happens when my braces come off?
Once your braces are removed, our Longmont orthodontist will explain how and when you should wear your retainer. For most patients, their retainer will be worn throughout the day and the night. Gradually, the amount of time you’ll need to wear your retainer may be readjusted. So until Dr. Toth or Dr. Skinner gives their approval to stop wearing your retainer, it’s important it stays on at all times you’re not eating or brushing.
What do retainers do for your teeth and how do they work?
Your retainer’s primary function is to keep your teeth in position following the completion of the braces stage of your orthodontic treatment. Your retainer is custom-made to fit the exact shape of your smile once your braces have been removed to ensure the stability or your new bite remains intact.
It’s not only your teeth that need to readjust to their new positions, the tissues that hold your teeth into position also need to time to adjust. Depending on the length and severity of your orthodontic treatment, it might take up to a year before the tissues in your mouth begin to stabilize and hold their new position. That’s why it’s so important that you take wearing your retainer as seriously as you did maintaining your braces. If the ligaments and tissues in your mouth don’t have the necessary time to readjust, they can try snapping back into their original position.