What Are Retainers and Why Do You Need Retainers for?

What Are Retainers

You just had your braces removed, but you noticed your teeth slipping back into their original positions. That’s why you consulted your dentist, and they suggested wearing retainers. However, you’re unsure what these oral devices are and are curious to learn more. So, what are tooth retainers used for?

Braces are specifically intended to realign your teeth, but even after they’re straightened, your teeth can still shift. This is generally because the gums, muscles, and bones need some time to adapt to the changes. To keep everything in place, a personalized retainer for teeth can be custom-made to fit over your teeth and ensure they stay in the right spot.

Malocclusion occurs when teeth shift, meaning the upper and lower teeth do not align when the mouth is closed. Wearing retainers is your best bet when it comes to teeth shifting. Essentially, they keep the teeth in their new position, whereas braces straighten them out.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Retainers?

Retainers are an indispensable part of orthodontic treatment, helping to preserve the results obtained through braces and clear aligners. Patients can reap numerous benefits from wearing retainers following orthodontic care, including:

Preventing Teeth Shifting

Retainer teeth prevent teeth from reverting to their original positions, a common problem after the removal of braces or aligners. Shifting of teeth can occur immediately after the removal of braces. Not using retainers for an extended duration increases the risk of relapse. Retainer teeth provide stability to the teeth holding them in place to prevent any possibility of relapse.

Improving Bite

A dental retainer can enhance the proper alignment of your teeth. In case your teeth were previously misaligned, they can effectively address this concern by promoting the occlusal relationship of your teeth.

Resolving Teeth Grinding Problems

Some people grind their teeth while sleeping, a condition known as bruxism. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to orthopedic complications and dental damage. Dental retainers serve as a type of shield, creating a separation between the upper and lower teeth. This separation can help to minimize grinding and provide an added layer of protection for your teeth.

Preventing Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases are prevalent oral conditions that result from the accumulation of bacteria and plaque around the teeth. A suitable remedy for this ailment is the application of dental retainers. Retainers not only help maintain the alignment of teeth but also facilitate ease of cleaning. Proper alignment of teeth allows efficient brushing and flossing, reducing the chances of plaque buildup.

Boosting Confidence

People with misaligned teeth often lack confidence and struggle with basic social interactions like smiling. However, this issue can be effectively addressed using dental retainers. Retainers help stabilize teeth in their proper positions, correct misaligned bites, and prevent teeth grinding. Additionally, wearing retainers helps achieve the intended results of orthodontic treatment — a straight, attractive smile that boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

How Long Should Retainers Be Worn?

Do you have to wear a retainer forever? The duration of retainer wear is subject to inter-patient variability and is influenced by several factors. These factors include the magnitude of the orthodontic discrepancy, the modality of orthodontic intervention employed, and the individual’s biological profile. However, here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Initially, retainers are typically worn 24/7, except while eating and brushing teeth.
  • You may be advised to gradually decrease the duration of daytime retainer wear after a few months while maintaining its use during night-time hours. This approach helps the teeth remain in their corrected position while allowing for comfortable and effective oral function during the daytime.
  • After removing braces, you may be required to wear retainers full-time for one year. This helps maintain the corrected position of your teeth and prevent them from shifting.
  • After the first year, most patients can switch to wearing their retainers only at night.
  • Some patients must wear retainers each night for several years or indefinitely. This also helps prevent teeth from shifting.

To achieve the most favourable outcome from your orthodontic treatment, it is essential to adhere to the guidelines provided by your orthodontist regarding the use of retainers. For queries regarding the use of your retainer, it’s advisable to contact your orthodontist for clarification.

Consequences of Not Wearing Retainers for A Month

Here are the consequences of failing to wear your retainers as directed by your orthodontist:

Teeth Shifting

Failing to wear retainers after orthodontic treatment may result in a swift regression of the teeth to their former positions. Regrettably, these consequences can reverse the achievements of orthodontic treatment.

Bite Changes

The shifting of your teeth realigns the structure of your teeth, which can interfere with your bite. Additionally, you’ll likely experience speech problems and challenges with eating some foods.

Pain and Discomfort

If you don’t wear your retainer for a month, your teeth might move and cause some pain and discomfort as they go back to their initial positions.

Eating Difficulties

Changes in your bite can present eating difficulties. As a result, this may be detrimental to your nutrition and health. In simple terms, eating difficulties will no doubt negatively impact your health in the long term. If you experience eating challenges, you should contact a dentist as soon as possible.

Need for Additional Treatment

After not wearing your retainer for a month, you may find your teeth have shifted noticeably. If so, you’ll likely need extra orthodontic treatment to fix the issue, which can mean more time, money, and effort.

Wear your retainers as directed by your orthodontist to avoid the above-mentioned consequences. You don’t want your orthodontic treatment to be in vain. For any arising issues, address them with your orthodontist and try to find other solutions that would be more convenient and helpful.

Can You Eat with Retainers?

When eating, it’s advisable to remove your retainer. If you don’t, food particles may damage them. Also, plaque may build up and cause tooth decay. So, store your retainers in their case when eating.

Never forget to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly after you finish your meal before wearing your retainer. If you have more questions about eating with retainers, your orthodontist can help.

Do We Sleep with A Retainer?

The decision to wear a retainer during sleep depends on the wearer and the type of retainer in question. However, orthodontics provides clear guidelines on nocturnal usage. Orthodontic patients use retainers at night to prevent teeth from shifting.

If your retainer causes discomfort or affects your sleep, you must talk to an orthodontist about other options. It’s essential to follow the orthodontist’s instructions on wearing retainers to ensure optimal treatment results.

Deviating from the recommended wear schedule can undo the progress made in the treatment. Also, your teeth will likely move back to their original position. Therefore, patients must wear retainers as prescribed, even when sleeping. If problems arise with the retainer, it’s best to seek your dentist’s advice without delay.

Types of Retainers After Braces

Types of Retainers After Braces

There are different types of retainers available to people who have undergone orthodontic treatment. Each option comes with pros and cons. The common retainer types include:

Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are built by combining plastic and wire and are removable. They can be customized to match the patient’s teeth and are adjustable. Hawley retainers are durable and typically last for years if well taken care of.

Clear Retainers

A clear plastic material that’s not visible when worn is used to make this type of retainer. They’re removable and customizable to patients’ preferences. Clear retainers are considered more comfortable than other types of retainers.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded retainers are usually attached to the back of the teeth. A dental adhesive is used to make the attachment. They’re not removable, so they provide full-time support to keep the teeth in their corrected positions. Bonded retainers are ideal for patients who are at high risk of relapse.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are similar to bonded retainers in that they’re not removable. However, unlike bonded retainers, fixed retainers are attached to the front of the teeth and not the back.

Each type of retainer has benefits and drawbacks, so the best kind depends on personal needs and preferences. Your orthodontist understands the advantages and disadvantages of each option, so they can review your case and help you make an informed choice.

Work with Barrie’s Best Dentists

Teeth retainers are oral aids for maintaining a correct and new position after braces or clear aligners are removed. Besides preventing teeth shifting, dental retainers help improve the bite, resolve teeth grinding problems, prevent orthodontist disease, and more.

Molson Park Dental is a reputable Barrie dentist. Our dental team offers oral health services at competitive rates. When you come to our office, you will always find a friendly dentist to review your situation and recommend an ideal treatment plan. Contact us today and discover how we can resolve your oral health issues.