If you were born with crooked teeth you probably had to wear braces. After months of having to put up with all the pain and misery, when you got the braces off you’ve felt like the luckiest person alive. Until the dentist came with the retainer. The joy of getting rid of the braces and being able to eat all the sticky candies you want is often shaded by the need to wear a retainer. How long do you really have to wear a retainer and why do you have to do it? Find out right now from orthodontic specialists at dental health clinics.
Teeth are always moving
Your teeth are able to move, thanks to the ligaments which keep them in place. This is how braces manage to give you a straight smile. At the same time, after the braces come off, the same ligaments can make your teeth return to their initial position, in time. This is why dentists recommend their patients to wear a retainer in the next three years after removing the braces. According to Dr. John Koutsoyiannis, dentist at Soho Smile in New York, after three years your teeth are less prone to move into their initial position. As time goes by, they will move less and less. However, your teeth will continue to move over time.
How long should you wear a retainer?
In the first year after taking your braces off it’s very important to wear a retainer to keep your teeth straight. As time goes by, you might be able to skip wearing the retainer a couple of nights, but avoid making a habit out of this. Even in your adult life your teeth move and change, as your jaw changes. Generally speaking, adults should wear the retainer for three decades after taking the braces off. This can be scary, but there are multiple benefits of wearing the retainer every night.
The most obvious one is keeping your teeth straight, which also gives you a good bite. A good bite also prevents your teeth from becoming dull by rubbing against each other as you chew.
Retainers require proper maintenance
Wearing a retainer for a long time after taking your braces off also means you will be going to the dentist for regular checkups, to have the retainer adjusted. There are removable retainers and permanent retainers, but both need to be adjusted and replaced every one or two years. If your removable retainer doesn’t fit or feels uncomfortable, it’s time to have it replaced. If you have a permanent one, when the wire is too loose or the glue comes off, it’s time to have it replaced.
Your dentist can advise on what type of retainer to wear and for how long you need it, depending on your unique case. Either way, make sure you follow the dentist’s orders to have a perfect smile for a long time to come.