The moment you’ve been waiting for is almost here – the day you get your braces off! Now that you have that straight smile, it’s time to make sure it lasts a lifetime. Dr. Suzanne Stock, a great Iowa City Orthodontist, wants to ensure you protect the investment you’ve made in your smile, and the best way to do that is with a retainer. The following explains what a retainer is and why it is an essential part of your orthodontic treatment.
What is a Retainer?
An orthodontic retainer is a small, clear plastic appliance with a stainless steel wire that is custom-molded to your teeth. You will wear the retainer after your braces are removed to keep your newly moved teeth in place.
Why Is a Retainer Needed?
You don’t want your teeth to move back to their original positions, and that is why a retainer is necessary. During your orthodontic treatment, the gentle forces of your braces shifted your teeth to their new position. Once your treatment is complete, the orthodontic retainer is what keeps your new smile in place.
How Long Will I Have to Wear the Retainer?
For the first year after your treatment, you will wear your retainer all of the time because the bone and gum tissue surrounding your teeth will continue to change, making it easier for your teeth to move out of place. Once the tissues have stablized, you will only have to wear the retainer at night. Even after many years of orthodontic treatment, your teeth can shift, so ideally, patients should always wear their retainer at least a few nights each week.
How do I Take Care of the Retainer?
Your retainer needs to be cleaned regularly to remove food particles and bacteria, just like your teeth. You should use a wet toothbrush to brush away any debris and bacteria at the end of the day.
Also, you should never clean or soak your retainer with very warm or hot water because this can cause the plastic to warp and change shape. If you lose or break your retainer, you should immediately contact your orthodontist to get a new retainer before your teeth start shifting.
Contact Your Iowa City Orthodontist Today!
If you have questions about your orthodontic retainer or want to schedule an appointment, contact us. Our team will be happy to help you!
If you are looking for an excellent Iowa City Orthodontist specializing in kid’s braces, contact us to schedule a complimentary exam. We love helping people straighten their smiles and keeping it for a lifetime!