When you finally get your braces off after months or even years, you probably want to go enjoy a meal that you had to forego because of the appliances. However, there is one more important step as you transition from braces to straight, white teeth: wearing dental retainers.
Retainers are custom-made orthodontic appliances that help to hold the position of your straightened teeth as they settle into the hard and soft tissues that hold them in place. This appliance is made of wire and plastic, and will keep your straight teeth from shifting while safeguarding your investment in orthodontics.
Dental retainers are primarily used in the final phase of orthodontic treatments to keep your teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatment. If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth may start drifting back to their original positions. If this happens, it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to correct.
At Bayside Dental & Orthodontics, we have different types of retainers for our patients in Airdrie Alberta, including:
These are the most popular type of retainer. Their design comprises wires and clasps that are embedded in a fairly thick plastic body covering over the roof of your mouth or lying along the tongue side of the lower teeth.
They are fitted with clasps that grasp specific teeth for a secure fit. The retaining wire arches across the front of the teeth where it holds and maintains their alignment.
They are made entirely from clear plastic using a cast of your teeth. They are not easily noticeable, though they’re not as durable as Hawley retainers.
Also referred to as permanent or bonded retainers, fixed retainers are attached directly to the backside of your front teeth. They don’t hold or even touch the back teeth because the wire cannot go round your whole mouth. As such, you may notice that the back teeth have moved over time. Another drawback is that you can’t remove them because they are fixed to the teeth.
Living with retainers
Retainers are typically worn for longer than six months, so it is important that you get used to them. After removing your braces, you’ll probably have to wear them all the time. Eventually, you can start wearing them only at night.
Initially, they may feel bulky and make it difficult to speak and chew properly. You may also salivate a lot. But after a few days, your tongue and mouth muscles will adjust, and your speech will return to normal. Your teeth may also feel a bit sour at first, but this too will resolve itself in time.
Besides functioning as orthodontic retainer, these appliances can also be used to correct bruxism or teeth grinding and clenching; correct a “tongue thrust”, whereby the tongue slips through the teeth when speaking; manage symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ); and address other issues associated with the jaw.
Talk to the Bayside Dental & Orthodontics team today to determine whether mouth retainers will be an effective solution for your case.