What does a retainer do?
Once orthodontic treatment is complete, teeth are still moving and adjusting to their new positions. In fact, it can take a year and sometimes more for teeth to fully stabilize. Retainers help teeth retain their proper positions after orthodontic treatment.
Are retainers comfortable?
Yes, retainers are custom made for each patient using state-of-the-art materials designed for function as well as comfort.
How often are retainers worn?
That depends on the needs of each patient, the type of orthodontic care that was provided, and the original alignment issues that were corrected. Usually patients will wear retainers more frequently immediately after orthodontic treatment has ended, with wear tapering off over time. Some patients may need to wear retainers only while sleeping or only for a few hours a day to provide adequate support and maintain results of orthodontic treatment.
Are retainers always used after orthodontic treatment?
Yes, retainers are a part of the complete orthodontic treatment plan, allowing teeth to stabilize and adjust to their new positions once braces are removed. While braces are on, teeth can rely on the tension of the wires to help them remain in position. But once braces are removed, the teeth no longer have those wires to help them maintain their positions, and without support, they can begin to shift out of place again. Retainers serve the same stabilizing purpose as braces wires.
How long will I need to wear a retainer?
Most patients can expect to wear a retainer for at least a year following treatment, and longer for more serious alignment issues or when there were gaps between teeth prior to orthodontic care. Many patients continue to wear their retainers for years to help ensure their teeth retain their ideal alignment even as the bones of the face continue to evolve with age.