Ask any orthodontic specialists in your area and they’ll all say the same thing – teeth have long memories. Without the right care after your metal braces or clear aligners are removed, your teeth will slowly try move back into their old position even years later – and that’s the last thing you’ll want after investing in orthodontic treatment! Here are some tips to help keep your teeth straight and your smile perfect.
Wear Your Retainer
After having metal braces or other orthodontics in your mouth for months or even years, the last thing many patients want to hear is that they’ll need to wear a retainer – but it’s the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth straight.
After a patient’s metal braces are removed or their set of clear aligners is complete, orthodontic specialists will create a custom retainer that perfectly fits their teeth and gently holds them in their correct position. How long you’ll have to wear your retainer will be determined by your orthodontist, but it often starts with wearing it all the time (except while eating) and then progresses to you wearing it for a certain number of hours per day or overnight.
Types of Retainer
There are two types of retainer that orthodontic specialists will recommend according to your treatment plan.
- Permanent retainer – This is a thin wire made of stainless steel that is glued to the back of your front teeth. This makes it completely invisible and it’s a very effective way of supporting your new smile. You’ll have to be careful about cleaning around the area, but it’s very comfortable once your tongue gets used to it – and you won’t have to worry about taking your retainer out, cleaning it and so forth.
- Removable retainer – These look a lot like clear aligners, and they are worn in a very similar way. You keep them on at all times except while eating and they are fairly invisible, so they usually go unnoticed by other people and in photographs. You have to remember to put them in for the required amount of time each day and, if you aren’t wearing them enough, the retainer won’t fit properly, and it will be uncomfortable.
Have Regular Dental Check-ups
You should visit your dentist every 6 months for a dental check-up and cleaning. They’ll ensure that your retainer (if it’s a permanent one) is still firmly fixed and clean, and they can let you know if there’s any sign of shifting. If your wisdom teeth haven’t emerged yet, your dentist can track these and remove them if needed, as these can cause your teeth to shift.
You’ve put a lot of time, money and effort into getting the smile you deserve, so it’s important to keep it in great shape and good health! If you want to find out more about what happens after your metal braces come off or you finish with your clear aligners, make an appointment with your local orthodontic specialists today.