We understand the excitement every patient feels when they have their braces removed.
We understand the excitement every patient feels when they have their braces removed. Yet, you’ll need to wear a retainer as directed by our orthodontists if you want to keep your beautiful new smile for life. A retainer holds your teeth in place so they don’t move back to their original positions.
Continue reading to learn why it’s important to wear your retainer after orthodontic treatment.
Why Your Teeth Might Shift
Once you’re done with orthodontic treatment, we can understand the reluctance you may feel to wear yet another oral appliance. (We promise we’re not trying to torture you!) However, it’s important that you wear your retainer as directed by our orthodontists. Otherwise, your teeth will gradually shift to their original positions.
While you may not see your teeth moving at first, the changes become more noticeable over time. For example, your retainer may feel tight and uncomfortable if you haven’t worn it for a few days. Your retainer will fit for as long as you consistently wear it.
It’s normal for your teeth to slightly shift after having your metal braces removed or once you stop wearing clear aligners. This is the result of everyday wear and tear on your teeth as you bite down, chew, swallow, and speak. The retainer is designed to prevent noticeable changes so you can maintain a beautiful smile.
First 12 Months After Orthodontic Treatment
Your teeth are partly held in place by surrounding jawbone. During orthodontic treatment, your jawbone would have softened or disappeared (a process called resorption) so teeth could move into their final positions.
Once you stop wearing clear aligners or traditional metal braces, you need to wear an orthodontic retainer so your teeth are held in place while new bone is deposited. It takes about 9 to 12 months for your body to build up enough bone to stabilize teeth.
12+ Months After Orthodontic Treatment
Once 12 months have passed, you should have enough new bone deposited around your teeth to keep them stable. For this reason, you won’t have to wear your orthodontic retainer as frequently to maintain your beautifully straight smile. Our dentists may recommend only wearing your retainer 3 to 5 times a week.
While your teeth won’t move as dramatically once the jawbone regains bone tissue, they will slightly move forward and inward as you get older. This change isn’t something you notice overnight, but rather something that gradually happens over decades.
What to Do if You Lose Your Retainer
If you lose your retainer, just call our office to schedule an appointment. Whether you accidentally threw out your retainer on your lunch tray or the dog ate it, we can get you fitted for a new retainer as soon as possible so you don’t lose the progress you made with orthodontic treatment. During your appointment, we’ll take impressions of your teeth to create a new retainer.