Why It’s Important to Wear Your Retainer

At Dr. Carr Orthodontics, we understand that the first question most patients with braces in Roy, UT ask is when do they come off? Unfortunately, great-looking smiles don’t happen overnight. It takes time for orthodontic treatment to gradually shift your teeth into the desired position.

Once your treatment comes to an end, you’ll still need to wear a retainer to help keep your teeth from moving out of their new position. How long will you need to wear a retainer? Well, that depends on a number of different factors. Here’s what you need to know about wearing a retainer to keep your new smile looking great.

Wearing Braces

Braces can help correct a number of conditions that include malocclusion (more commonly referred to as a bad bite), protruding or crooked teeth, jaws that don’t properly line up or misalignment in any area of the mouth. Bad bites can be caused by trauma that impacts the mouth, thumb-sucking as a child, or even premature tooth loss. Bad bites can also develop due to genetic factors.

If left untreated, any of these conditions can cause serious issues that can negatively impact an individual’s oral health, such as gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and problems chewing or speaking. Fortunately, all of these issues can be easily prevented by the orthodontic treatments provided by Dr. Carr.

When They Come Off

The day your braces come off is certainly one to smile about. However, to keep all of the hard-earned rewards that result from your orthodontic treatments, your retainer needs to be a constant companion. A retainer is a custom-made oral apparatus designed to keep teeth in position after braces are removed. While your retainer can come out when you eat, brush, and pose for a picture, your newly realigned teeth need time to settle into the soft tissue and jawbone that house them.

Wearing your retainer between meals and at night allows your teeth to hold their new form as they naturally try to shift back into their old positions – which would completely undo the effort and money spent to improve your smile to begin with.

Types of Retainers

The two main types of retainers are fixed and removable. Removable retainers easily slide on and off your teeth during meals and while brushing and flossing. While you can remove a retainer, they should be worn all the time for up to one year following the removal of your braces. Dr. Carr will determine exactly how long you’ll need to wear a retainer based on the type of orthodontic treatment a patient receives. After the time period set by Dr. Carr, if no movement is detected, Dr. Carr may recommend only wearing your braces at night.

While you might find it tempting to only wear your retainer at night or only occasionally, Dr. Carr would hate to see all of the progress made by your orthodontic treatment become undone. Rest assured that Dr. Carr will select the shortest amount of time possible when determining how long you should wear your retainer following the removal of our braces.

Caring For Your Retainer

Proving regular care for your retainer is an important part of protecting your new smile. For a fixed retainer, regular checkups with Dr. Carr are particularly important to check for cavities and to keep the areas around those teeth free of plaque and tartar buildup.

Removable retainers can be cleaned by soaking them in denture cleaning tablets or a combination of vinegar and water. Dr. Carr will obviously remove your retainer during checkups, but make sure you put it right back on before you leave our office.

While most patients with braces in Roy, UT can’t wait for their braces to come off, just don’t forget all the hard work it took to create your great-looking new smile. Just think of wearing a retainer as the last step in your journey to a lifetime of great looking teeth.