Early orthodontic treatment from a top orthodontist may prevent worsening oral health issues later in life. However, while most parents have heard of traditional orthodontics, some may not know what to expect from early orthodontic treatment. While both treatments seek to alleviate symptoms and restore health, their respective goals and methods vary somewhat.Phase one, often…
The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer After Braces
Wearing your retainer after braces removal is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, your teeth may return to their original positions, creating a need for additional orthodontic care in the future. The good news is that retainers are highly effective when worn properly, and patients can maintain their straight smile for decades.
Retainer after braces: Here is what you should know
A retainer is an orthodontic device that helps maintain the position of teeth after they are straightened via orthodontic treatments like braces. They are essential and integral for maintaining optimal results for the long term. Here is everything to know about wearing a retainer after braces treatment.
The purpose of a retainer after braces
A retainer is designed to keep the teeth in their proper positions after braces treatment is complete. This is necessary because the jaw that supports teeth is still malleable after braces removal. The teeth may begin to shift back into their original positions, from before treatment began.
In simplest terms, a retainer prevents this from happening by holding the teeth in place as the jaw hardens around them. The need for a retainer decreases over time, but it is necessary for at least a year after treatment.
The risks of not wearing a retainer properly
Without a retainer, one's teeth will likely shift to where they were before the braces treatment. This means that most of the hard work that the patient did will be undone. They will have to redo the braces treatment to achieve the desired results or else once again experience the same cosmetic, oral health, and functional concerns that they had before the treatment began.
How to properly wear a retainer after braces
There are several important tips for properly wearing a retainer. First, it is essential to keep the retainer clean. Otherwise, bacteria may accumulate on it, which can increase the likelihood of dental cavities, gum complications, and bacterial infections. Be sure to rinse them each time they are removed and wash them as directed by the dentist every day.
Second, patients should remain consistent. At first, dentists typically require the patient to wear the retainer for most of the day. Failure to do so can lead to teeth shifting. The good news is that this schedule is temporary. Eventually, patients are only required to wear the retainer while they sleep.
Additional braces aftercare tips
Patients can maintain a healthy smile after braces with the following aftercare tips.
Receive a professional teeth cleaning
There may be minor stains on the surface of teeth after braces treatment. This is typically due to the brackets, as it is difficult to brush these areas. The best way to quickly remove any stains is with professional teeth cleaning. During the procedure, the dentist scales away plaque and tartar accumulation, which helps restore the natural shade of teeth. Once there is no sensitivity and the enamel is strong, braces patients can receive professional whitening.
Visit the general dentist several times a year
Regular visits to the general dentist are strongly recommended to help ensure that no oral health concerns develop. The dental team also checks to ensure that there are no alignment issues. If they notice the teeth shifting back, they can help the patient quickly correct the problem.
During check-up visits, the general dentist can conduct a thorough oral examination that may involve dental X-rays, depending on how long it has been since the patient’s last visit. They also do a teeth cleaning and provide aftercare instructions to help the patient maintain a straight and clean smile until their next visit.
Reduce the risk of dental trauma
Braces patients work hard to achieve an ideal and straight smile. The last thing that they want is to have a tooth knocked loose or out of the mouth. To help ensure that this does not occur, patients should wear a mouthguard whenever necessary, such as while playing contact sports. This is especially important for teenagers who are physically active. Additionally, patients who have bruxism should wear a nightguard to help ensure that their teeth are not damaged.
Do you need braces treatment? Contact our office today
Here at our general dentistry practice, we help our patients throughout the entire braces treatment process. We also provide a retainer for our patients to wear, helping ensure that their smile remains straight for decades after treatment. If you are considering braces treatment, contact us today to schedule a consultation visit.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Retainer in Long Beach, CA.
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