Correcting an orthodontic issue goes beyond your treatment period as teeth do not stay straight by themselves. A retainer is an orthodontic device that is designed to help teeth “retain” their new position (keep the teeth where the previous braces/aligner treatment moved them). Eruption of other teeth, facial growth and age-related changes, and pressure from tongues, lips, and cheeks are some of the factors that can push teeth around. To maintain your new smile after braces or invisalign are removed, it is vital to wear your retainers. Retainers help to keep the teeth aligned for the long term. To properly maintain the results your investment deserves it must be worn according to the guidelines set.
In a nutshell, they are custom-made orthodontic appliances that are designed to hold the teeth in their new positions after orthodontic treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, the teeth will very rapidly begin to go crooked again. It is vitally important to understand that it takes time for a mouth to ‘learn’ the new positioning of their teeth once braces are removed. While some minor changes to the bite and tooth alignment post-treatment are normal, wearing a retainer for as long as your orthodontist recommends is the best way to ensure their teeth stay healthy and straight for years to come.
Fortunately, retainer wear is simple. The retainers are invisible and easy to put on. It is also very easier to maintain them as they are easy to clean. Retainers are mostly plastic, and the two most common ways they can be damaged are from heat and from physical abuse. Retainers shouldn’t be placed in hot water, the dishwasher, washing machine, direct sunlight or near a heat source. Caring for a retainer properly will ensure it lasts the distance! Retainers should always be kept in its container when not in use to keep it safe and hygienic and prevent it from getting lost. You should only remove the appliance when you are brushing your teeth, swimming or taking part in contact sports like rugby and football.