Should Retainers Be Worn For Life?

retainers worn for life

Talk of maintaining straight teeth after braces and your dentist will most likely suggest that you get retainers. You may be tempted to ask him or her for how long. The simple answer is forever. This may sound like another long journey after getting rid of braces you have to put up with for years.  It is not a long journey. As a matter of fact, it is a no brainer. You can choose to wear it all the time a few months after having your braces removed. From then on, you can choose to wear retainers only at night all the time. To understand why this is the case, you must first understand a few basics about retainers, what they do and why you need to wear them for as long as possible.

Why Should You Wear Retainers?

Your teeth are attached to your gums and other surrounding structures through different ligaments and fibers that keep them strongly anchored in their places. These fibrous linkages become loose during orthodontic treatment. This happens mostly because of the forces generated by orthodontic appliances like braces. So once treatment is completed, your teeth can easily snap to their original position. The only way to prevent this from happening is by wearing retainers.

What About Children?

For children and even teenagers, teeth alignment can be easy for so many reasons. Their jaw bones still grow and form, so contouring them to the desired shape is easy. This also means that the chances of teeth relapse are minimal. Once shifted, a young person’s teeth are likely to stay in their new position after the fibrous attachment and bone snap.

Are There Different Types Of Retainers?

There are two main types of retainers. There are fixed retainers, then there are removable retainers. Both serve the same purpose but differ in design. Fixed retainers feature wires that are bound to the lingual surface of the teeth commonly referred to as the tongue side. This means they can only be adjusted or removed by a dentist. They are mostly used in instances where suspects that a patient may lose the retainer.

Removable retainers as the name suggests, can be removed. They are ideal where an orthodontist or a dentist is confident that a patient will wear the retainer without fail for the prescribed duration. Note that orthodontic appliances that are worn during the final stages of treatment can also serve as removable retainers.

Shifting Teeth

The risk of shifting teeth may be minimal when one is still young. However, the risk becomes inevitable as you age. So to prevent your teeth from shifting and misaligning, you have to wear retainers. For kids, having a permanent retainer is recommended for at least 10 years after braces are removed.

Taking Care Of Retainers

It is easy, especially for fixed retainers. All you need to do is make sure that you regularly floss between the wires attached to your teeth. This will protect your teeth from cavity and gum infections. Removable retainers are just as easy to maintain. Wash them with lukewarm water after meals. Feel free to also use your toothpaste and toothbrush to clean them.

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