There are lots of reasons why millions of people turn to orthodontic treatment:
- To improve their smile
- To boost their confidence
- To fix a bite problem
- To treat jaw pain, grinding, or other issues
Even though the underlying reason for treatment can vary, there’s one thing all patients agree on: When treatment is over, it’s time for celebration. Still, just because the major part of your treatment is complete, that doesn’t mean you’re done caring for your new smile. You still need to wear a retainer to maintain all those important benefits.
At Freedom Orthodontics, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and his team are dedicated to helping patients in Cedar Park, Texas, enjoy the lifetime benefits associated with orthodontic treatment. Here’s how your retainer will play a starring role in your post-treatment care.
The important role of your retainer
The role of your retainer is contained right in its name: Its purpose is to help your teeth retain their new positions. You’ve spent months — maybe years — improving your smile and your bite balance, so you want to do all you can to preserve those results.
Aligners and braces don’t just move the top, visible parts of your teeth. They move the roots too. And once those roots are in their new positions, they need some extra support to help them settle and stabilize. That’s where a retainer can help.
For a few months after your treatment, the jawbone that surrounds your tooth roots is in a remodeling stage, re-forming around your root and hardening to provide firm support that withstands the pressures of chewing and biting. During this initial period, you’ll wear your retainer for a longer stretch of time — most of the day.
As your teeth stabilize, you’ll be able to cut back on your retainer wear, but you’ll probably want to continue wearing it regularly. In fact, many people wear their retainers while they sleep 2-3 nights each week to keep their smiles looking their best.
Retainer wear: Fight the temptation to skip
We get it — once you’re done wearing braces or aligners, you’re ready to put your treatment behind you. Over time, you might be tempted to skip wearing your retainer and maybe stop wearing it altogether.
The problem is, as you age, your teeth can shift their positions. Years of chewing and biting play roles in moving your teeth too. Even subtle shifts can result in problems with your bite balance, not to mention wreak havoc on your gorgeous smile.
What’s more, if you have a change of heart later on and decide to wear your retainer, your teeth may already have shifted their positions. That means there’s a good chance your old retainer won’t fit, and you’ll need to have a new one made.
Wearing a retainer might seem like a hassle, but it’s the best way to lock in the results of your orthodontic treatment. Today’s retainers are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, and considering it only takes a few seconds to pop one in, there’s no reason not to take full advantage of all the benefits your retainer can offer for your beautiful smile.
Your new smile is the gift of a lifetime
Once you’ve done all the hard work of straightening your teeth, you want to do all you can to continue to enjoy those benefits for decades to come. That begins by wearing your retainer as directed.
If you have questions about your retainer or any phase of orthodontic treatment, we can help. Call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.