Dental retainers are orthodontic devices that keep the teeth in position after the removal of dental braces. They can be fitted to the upper or lower part of the mouth during the post-braces period of orthodontic treatment.
Understanding Dental Retainers
Dental retainers help the teeth to maintain their new position while the muscles of the mouth, gums and bones adjust to the new alignment of the teeth and the mouth. As the mouth grows, the teeth are likely to shift with the increase in jaw space. Dental retainers prevent this from happening. They’re made of wire and plastic or acrylic and can be removable retainers or fixed retainers. Initially, they should be worn fulltime, but after some time they need only be worn at night.
Orthodontists advise that these retainers should be worn for several years and some individuals need to wear them throughout their life. Dental retainers can also be used to correct minor orthodontic malocclusions, such as overbite and underbite.
Care of Dental Retainers
Since dental retainers need to be used for several years, it’s important that you care for them daily. They should be brushed once a day preferably when you brush your teeth. The fixed retainers are cemented to the roof of your mouth and cleaning them can be quite difficult. You should also take care to not eat hard or sticky food. Removable retainers can be easily misplaced. You should therefore make a habit of storing them in their cases when not in use.
Dental retainers are essential for the success of your orthodontic treatment and although it’s tempting to not wear them, you should ensure that you do wear them regularly to achieve maximum results.