When your braces are removed, the retention stage of your treatment begins. This stage lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Typically, you wear your retainer full-time for six to twelve months, and after that you wear it nightly. Your final orthodontic result depends on the use of your retainers, so it is important to follow through and stick the the treatment plan during this retentions phase. It is important to remove your retainer before brushing, and to also brush the retainer before placing it back in your mouth.
Why are Retainers Important?
The purpose of braces is to apply gentle pressure to gradually move your teeth into proper alignment. When your braces are removed, your teeth are still loose. Retainers will hold your teeth in their new positions while bone fills in around the tooth roots, which will stabilize the teeth. If braces are not worn subsequent to the removal of braces, teeth can still shift out of alignment.
Maxillary wrap-around retainers are the upper retainers, which can be removed. It is important to be extremely careful when handling your upper retainers; they are very fragile and can be costly to replace. When you get your maxillary wrap-around braces, you will also be given a special case; please use this case to store your retainer when you are not using it. It is also essential to keep your retainer clean; brush it with toothpaste (sometimes with denture cleaner) and warm water.
Retainers should be worn as often as possible. Exceptions are when eating and brushing your teeth. If you participate in any sports that require a mouthguard or if you swim, your retainer should be removed.. After 12 months of full-time wear, your retention treatment may be revised to allow you to wear the retainer strictly at night.
Your final orthodontic result and your beautiful smile depend on the proper use of retainers, so make sure to follow through on the retention stage of your treatment.