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Why Do I Need a Retainer?

You may be wondering how important a retainer really is after treatment with braces or aligners. Is your orthodontist being a little too strict about you wearing one, or is this piece of equipment, in fact, a key player in maintaining your smile for life?

Your orthodontist is correct when they say wearing your retainer for the rest of your life is important. So, if you’re asking, “Why do I need a retainer?” read on to discover the importance of retainers and why they’re so imperative to your treatment plan.

What Retainers Do

When braces come off, your teeth are vulnerable to shifting back to where they started if not properly maintained. This is why your orthodontist will advise you to wear a retainer once treatment with braces or Invisalign is over. At first, you’ll need to wear your retainer for most of the day, every day, since your teeth have an increased chance of shifting the first year after orthodontic treatment. You’ll then be advised to cut down your retainer wear to perhaps a couple times per week or at night. This will continue forever, since our teeth can shift at any point in our lives.

Types and Benefits of Retainers

There are two types of retainers that are typically recommended after treatment: fixed and removable. Fixed retainers are cemented to the backs of the teeth and are primarily used on teeth orthodontists feel have the most likely chance of shifting. Removable retainers are usually what we think of when we hear about retainers. This variety can be removed at any time.

Besides the obvious benefit of maintaining your perfect smile for life, retainer wear can also provide some lesser known benefits for some patients:

  • Help with snoring
  • Assistance with speech problems
  • Makes teeth easier to clean

The last benefit actually applies to all patients, since having straighter teeth means proper oral hygiene habits are easier to maintain, thus limiting your risk of tooth decay and other problems.

The Importance of Retainers

Wearing your retainer should be a priority after treatment, so listen to your orthodontist and don’t think that just because you have straight teeth now, they’ll stay that way forever without a little help. Failure to wear your retainer can result in your teeth shifting back, which can mean another round of treatment is necessary to correct the damage.

Don’t let your months or years of hard work be for nothing. Trust in the expertise of your orthodontist and wear your retainer properly. Don’t risk having to go through another treatment plan and more expense for something you have control over. In the end, maintaining your perfect smile is on you, so take this responsibility seriously. Wear your retainer and enjoy your beautiful smile for the rest of your life.