Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Orthodontic treatment is a journey that doesn’t end when your braces come off. At Manhattan Family Orthodontics, we can’t stress enough using a retainer after braces to keep that perfect smile. Here’s why it’s important to use a retainer after braces.

The Role of Retainers

Getting a straight, beautiful smile with braces is a big investment in your looks and health. However, that big investment can go down the drain without proper post-treatment care. That’s where retainers come in!

What is a Retainer?

Retainers are custom-made devices built to hold your teeth in their new spots after braces. They play a huge role in keeping the results from your braces, like aligned teeth and corrected bites.

Types of Retainers

There are two main types of retainers that we use at Manhattan Family Orthodontics:

Fixed Retainers: Also known as permanent or bonded retainers, these are a type of retainer that’s cemented to the back of your teeth. They have a thin wire attached to the teeth to keep them in place.

They offer continuous support, and you don’t have to remember to put them in or take them out since they’re fixed in place. 

Removable Retainers: You can take out these retainers for easier eating and cleaning. Removable retainers are custom-made to fit your teeth and are usually worn at night. They’re often made of clear materials for a more discreet appearance.

Patients find removable retainers more comfortable, but they do need more responsibility to remove and clean them daily. 

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Functions of Retainers

Retainers serve a ton of roles that are key for the long-term success of orthodontic treatment.

Preventing Teeth Shifting

Once we take your braces off, your teeth will want to move back to their original places. Because braces adjust your ligaments and tissues around your teeth, your smile needs time to stabilize to its new spots. Retainers help your teeth steady so your hard-earned results remain intact.

Maintaining Your Bite

Braces adjust more than your teeth. They correct your bite to be healthier and function better. Retainers help keep your new bite in place and prevent issues like jaw pain, uneven wear on teeth, and difficulties in chewing. 

Supporting Bone Structure

When braces move your teeth, the bones around them also change and adapt. Just like your ligaments and tissues, your bones adjusting takes time after your braces come off. Retainers keep the process going so the bones have time to harden and stabilize.

Protecting Your Investment

Orthodontic treatment with braces is a huge investment of time and money. When you don’t wear a retainer, you risk having your teeth go back to their original positions. This relapse can mean more orthodontic treatments, more time, and more money. By wearing your retainer, you protect your investment and ensure lasting results.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Wear

Depending on how long it’s been since we’ve debonded your braces, we’ll recommend two different procedures for wearing your retainers.

Full-Time Wear: We typically recommend wearing your retainer full-time right after we remove your braces. This helps stabilize the teeth early and stop them from immediately shifting.

Part-Time Wear: Once your teeth have better stabilized, we’ll recommend only wearing your retainer at night. This continues to protect your alignment while giving you more flexibility during the day.

Taking Care of Your Retainers

Whether you have a fixed retainer or a removable retainer, having great oral hygiene is key to keeping a great smile.

While fixed retainers don’t have the same level of daily cleaning as removable retainers, it’s still important to be diligent in cleaning. Brush and floss around your retainer carefully to prevent plaque buildup and to keep your gums healthy. 

Removable retainers have more freedom but also more responsibilities. You should clean your retainer daily using a soft toothbrush and mild soap. Don’t use toothpaste, as it can damage your appliance. Every so often, soak your retainer in a cleaning solution made for retainers to remove and build up.

When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in its case to protect it from damage and loss. Also, by keeping them in their case, it can help prevent contamination.

Both types of retainers include regular check-ups with our doctors to make sure your smile is on track during your post-treatment time. We make any adjustments needed and answer any of your questions during these visits. 

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Protecting Your Smile at Manhattan Family Orthodontics

Wearing a retainer isn’t just a recommendation – it’s essential for keeping your brand-new smile. At Manhattan Family Orthodontics, we’ll walk you through the steps to preserving your smile after braces with retainers. If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out to either of our New York Offices in Uptown and Downtown Manhattan!