Why Do You Need A Retainer After Braces?

So you’ve gone through months, even years, of wearing braces, and now you have a perfect smile and a healthy bite.

But surprise, your treatment isn't over. Your orthodontist just informed you of your next appointment, where you’ll be fitted for retainers. 

If you’re wondering whether to skip this phase of your treatment, read this article first. 

Why Do You Need A Retainer? 

Teeth have a frustrating habit of migrating back to their original position after going through braces. This is especially true if you’ve corrected alignment issues you’ve had your entire life. 

Your teeth will want to move back to their original spot, which means that all your hard work will be undone. 

This can also happen in other cases of misalignment, such as in patients whose teeth migrated because of dental loss. Once they complete their treatment, their teeth may move back. 

While this process doesn’t happen overnight, your alignment and even bite problems could come back one day. 

What Does A Retainer Do? 

A retainer makes sure your orthodontic results will last your entire life. It’s a custom device you place over your teeth to help them hold their position and prevent alignment problems from resurfacing. 

The device doesn’t move your teeth; it just prevents them from going back to their original position. 

Retainers can either be fixed or removable. Your orthodontist will recommend a type that works best for your specific case. 

How Long Do You Have To Wear A Retainer? 

You will need to wear your retainer for the rest of your life. 

The first six months after finishing your treatment are the most crucial. Your teeth will be in a more vulnerable state and at a higher risk of migrating back. Most likely, you’ll need to wear your retainers full-time. 

After the first six months, your orthodontist will review your case and most likely adjust your retainer maintenance. You may need to wear your retainers only at night or even put them on just a few times a week. 

But your retainers will be with you forever in some capacity. 

What Happens If You Stop Wearing A Retainer? 

Your teeth will move back, especially if you’re still in the six-month post-braces time frame. You may even notice this if you try to put your retainers back on after a while and they don’t fit. 

Again, your teeth won’t move back overnight. The process is slow, which is why most patients only notice it after their teeth have significantly migrated, in which case they would need to go back on braces. 

How Haeger Orthodontics Can Help 

Want a straight smile and a healthy bite? Come meet Dr. Robert Haeger to get a custom treatment plan designed to help you get great results!

Request an appointment at Haeger Orthodontics online and stop by to discover your orthodontic options.

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