Ask a Dentist

June 30, 2022

Q: Why Do I Need To Wear A Retainer?

Dental aesthetic ortodontics

Finally, your braces are off! No more metal brackets and bruising gums—and elastics (oh, the humanity). Your mouth is now free from the constraint. So, what now? Sadly, your orthodontic treatment isn’t done. Almost everyone needs to wear a retainer after removing their braces. 

Think of retainers as an insurance policy for your new smile. After your braces are removed, your teeth can shift back to their original position. Retainers make sure your investment and commitment to braces don’t go to waste.

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are custom-made to fit the wearer - all retainers are unique. There are two types of retainers:

  • Removable retainer. These can be taken out when eating or brushing your teeth. You would typically wear this retainer full time for four months to a year after removing your braces. 
  • Fixed retainer. These are bonded to the back of your teeth and you don’t have to keep track of them while you eat or brush your teeth. There’s a chance you might need to wear this retainer for longer, maybe years.

Why Do You Need Retainers?

Primarily, retainers help your teeth maintain their new position after active orthodontic treatment is completed. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a retainer to move one tooth or close a gap between two teeth. In this minor case, you don’t need braces and will likely only need to wear a retainer for a few years to straighten your teeth. 

Retainers also have other functions such as preventing tongue thrusting (a condition where your tongue slides through your teeth while speaking). Some retainers are specifically designed to train your tongue to not move forward while speaking. Retainers can help with TMD as well. 

Caring For Your Retainer

Your retainer stays in your mouth for a substantial amount of time. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain them. 

For removable retainers:

  • When your retainers aren’t in your mouth, they should be kept in a case away from heat and pets.
  • Follow your orthodontist’s prescribed method of cleaning. It may involve brushing your retainer and soaking it in a denture-cleaning solution but will likely only need to be cleaned daily with your toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Only drink water while you're wearing your retainer, as other drinks can get caught between your retainer and teeth, leading to decay.

For fixed retainers: Brush and floss carefully to ensure all food particles are removed between the wires and back of your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to ensure your retainer doesn’t have any problems.

If you have any questions about your retainers or other orthodontic treatments, schedule an appointment with Dental Image Therapy Centres today. Our experienced dental professionals possess the skill and experience to give you the best smile you deserve. We’re conveniently located at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

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