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Why You Need to Wear Your Retainer

by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Oct 18, 2019 12:45:00 PM

The day had finally come, the day you got your braces off. No more pokey wires, or bruising brackets, your mouth is free! So what now? Obviously, there is nothing more required of you. I mean you finished you treatment, everything should be easy breezy. 

And for the most part, they will be. As long as you wear your retainer. We can already hear the whining “whyyyy” so let us tell you why it’s important to wear your retainer after your debonded. 

What is an orthodontic retainer?

An orthodontic retainer is a device that is custom made for your teeth after you get your braces off. The goal of a retainer is to help prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original positions and to retain the smile you now have. 

Anyone who has undergone orthodontic treatment, whether it’s Invisalign or braces, needs to wear a retainer afterwards. 


Why do you have to wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment?
The way our mouth is structured is meant to hold our teeth very firmly and securely in place. These multiple ligaments and tissues keep your teeth tightly anchored but when you undergo orthodontic treatment these connections become loose as your teeth shift. 

After you finish your treatment, if these connections aren’t supported your teeth will shift back to their original positions, the only way to prevent shifting is by wearing your retainer.

How long do I need to wear my retainer for?
Now this will vary from patient to patient depending on what your orthodontist recommends, it’s important to follow all usage instructions from your orthodontist to a tee. 

Generally speaking according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, most orthodontists ask their patients wear their retainers for at least 12 months but do adamantly recommend wearing your retainer full time for the first 3-6 months and then switching to only wearing your retainer at night. 

What types of retainers?
There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable.

Fixed retainers have a wire that is cemented to the back of your teeth, it can be for the top or the bottom and even in some cases both. The wire is cemented on the lingual side of your mouth (or the inside of your teeth) and can only be removed by an orthodontist. 

Removable retainers can be easily removed when you need to brush your teeth or eat. These retainers are worn full-time for at least 3-6 months after your braces are removed and then only at night for the future. Your orthodontist will detail all the specifications of  how long to wear your retainer and when to wear it as well. 

In our second part of our retainer series we will go over all the processes of how to clean and care for your retainer. 


Invisalign Vs. Braces

Invisalign and braces both offer unique advantages and disadvantages. The differences between Invisalign and Braces are listed here More About braces vs Invisalign →

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