The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer

Congratulations! You have transitioned to the next phase of perfecting your smile permanently. But although having your braces removed is cause for celebration, you are not quite done with your treatment. Wearing your retainer is a very important part of your orthodontic care. Here’s why…

Get in Line

Your retainer is the last phase in achieving your permanent, straight smile. So we like to take a little time to stress the importance of wearing your retainer exactly as your orthodontist has instructed. Retainers help to stabilize your teeth. The bone around your teeth is pliable, this means it takes time to adjust. So just because your teeth are exactly where you want them to be, doesn’t mean they are going to stay there. Wearing your retainer keeps your teeth in place until your gum tissues and bones have adjusted to the shift in your teeth and lose their memory of their old locations. Because gum tissue and bones actually have somewhat of a memory, not wearing your retainer properly can make your teeth go right back to where they used to be. This results in a big waste of time and money for you and a big disappointment in the lack of change to your smile. We understand that the fact that retainers are removable makes them very tempting to box away in your night stand and forget about them. Make a diligent effort to stick to your plan.

You Have Options

In general, wearing a retainer is much more comfortable than what you have experienced while wearing your braces. The other great thing about retainers is that you have options. Your orthodontist will talk to you about which option works best for you. Here is a list of the different types of retainers that are available to our patients.

  • Fixed or Lingual Retainers– Metal wires that are bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. As the name says, they are fixed, or not removable, but do bring a higher risk of tooth decay.
  • Zendura Thermo-Formed Retainers– These retainers are designed for durability by using polyurethane to keep them from cracking and helping them to resist stains.
  • Essix Vacuum Formed Retainers– These type of retainers are clear and strong and look like an Invisalign tray.
  • Hawley Retainer– These are traditional retainers that have been used for years. Wires and clasps are anchored to a thick plastic body and patients are able to pick their colors and design.

The good news is that wearing your retainer doesn’t last forever. Although wearing your retainer is constant at first, and you will have to wear it all day and night, this eventually changes. Your orthodontist will keep you updated on when you can transition to just having to wear it at night and your orthodontist will set up a schedule for you going forward.