Once you’ve completed orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, much of the hard work will be over and you can enjoy all of the benefits of your new smile. But that doesn’t mean the work is over completely. You will still need to wear a retainer to avoid regression and to keep enjoying your fantastic results.
Everyone has a little bit of a preconceived notion about what to expect from retainers, but when you learn a little bit more about retainers, you may come to appreciate your own a little more. Here are some fun facts about retainers you probably didn’t know about.
There are a Lot of Different Types of Retainers
You most likely think of Hawley retainers when you imagine what your retainer will be like. This traditional form of retainer uses a combination of metal wires and a plastic mold that fits precisely into the roof of your mouth.
However, there are many different types of retainers you might get, including permanent retainers that are bonded to the back of the teeth and removable retainers that are similar to Invisalign aligners.
Retainers Are Formed Using Heat
Whether a retainer is made from metal or medical-grade plastic, heat is what allows it to be shaped precisely for each patient. This means if it gets reheated, it could warp. This is one of the many reasons you need to carefully store your retainer in a safe place away from heat when you aren’t wearing it.
Retainers Have Been Around for over a Century
It’s easy to think modern medical treatments have only been around for a short amount of time. However, retainers have been used since 1919, when the Hawley retainer was invented. Even though there are other options available for patients, the Hawley retainer is still a great option.
The Amount of Time You Need to Wear Your Retainer Often Changes
Some patients may start out wearing a retainer all day, every day—with the exception of when they eat—when they first get one. However, this may only be for a few months. After a while, the amount of time you need to wear your retainer is reduced, but your orthodontist will never say to stop wearing altogether. Most patients will at least be instructed to wear a retainer while they sleep at night indefinitely.
You May Need Braces Again if You Don’t Wear a Retainer
While it’s easy to think that braces give you permanent results, your straightened smile will only last if you take care to wear your retainer. Teeth can actually begin to shift back to their original positions without proper retainer wear, a process known as regression.
This means that if you lose or accidentally break your retainer, you should get it replaced right away. Retainers need to be stored in a case in a safe place when they aren’t being worn so nothing happens to them.
Want to learn more fun facts about orthodontic treatment? Contact Smith Orthodontics and schedule your free consultation to find out which orthodontic treatment options are right for you!