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Your treatment with braces is finished, and your braces are finally off! It’s an exciting time and now that you are enjoying your new smile, it is important to take measures to maintain it by wearing a retainer. Don’t let your hard work and investment in a straighter smile go to waste after your braces come off.
After your braces are removed, it will take time for the bone and tissue around your teeth to reorganize and settle. Until your bite stabilizes, it is important to wear your retainer to help keep your teeth from relapsing back to their original position. On average it can take up to a year or longer for teeth to stabilize after treatment. The retention period may be longer if you had gaps between your teeth.
If you do not wear your retainer as recommended, your teeth could shift over time and may require you to get braces again to correct this movement, ruing the effort and expense you put into the braces you had before.
Retainers come in the form of a removable appliance with a wire holding the front of the teeth, that can be taken out for eating, contact sports or brushing your teeth. Other retainers include a fixed wire bonded to the back of your front teeth.
For removable retainers, be sure to take them out when eating, playing contact sports or brushing your teeth. When you are not using your retainer, but sure to keep them stored in a box to avoid losing them. For a fixed retainer, take special care to thoroughly brush the back of your teeth and all around the wire along with using dental floss with a floss threader, all to prevent plaque buildup.
Your orthodontist will determine the length of time you need to wear a retainer based on the treatment they provided during your time wearing the braces. Many times, you can expect to wear your retainer for the same amount of time that you had braces.
Some retainers are used full-time for 6 months and then only at night for a few years. Other retainers only need to be worn full-time for a week and then only at night after that period. A fixed retainer will need to be kept in place for five years on average.
The best way to keep your smile straight after your treatment with braces is to follow the recommendations your orthodontist has provided you with regarding wearing your retainer. Also, be sure to continue going to your regular dental checkups to ensure your smile stays free of cavities and other issues. Contact Gutiérrez Orthodontics today to schedule your free orthodontic consultation and begin your journey to a more beautiful smile!