Using a Retainer After Your Braces Have Been Removed

Now that Orthodontics, Inc. has successfully adjusted and realigned your teeth for a more functional mouth and appealing smile, the time has come to have your braces removed. However, it’s important to keep in mind that adjusting your teeth with braces was just the first phase of the realignment process. Once your braces are removed a retention phase is required to make sure your teeth will stay in their ideal alignment for many years to come.

If the residual tension isn’t dealt with, it can slowly start to pull your teeth out of alignment in a process known as relapse. By using a retainer, you can hold your teeth in their new alignment while the residual tension in the periodontal ligaments slowly subsides. You should expect to wear your retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.

There are essentially three different types of retainer. Which one is right for you depends on several different factors. A Hawley retainer is most common and is essentially a thin acrylic piece molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth. It is removable yet securely attaches to your teeth with wires. A clear plastic retainer is called for if your teeth only needed minor adjustment. The clear plastic material makes it hard for people to notice they are even in. A fixed retainer is called for if your teeth, particularly your front teeth, needed a significant amount of adjustment. A fixed retainer is usually a firm metal wire cemented behind your teeth.

It’s normal for your mouth to produce some excess saliva for the first few days after you start wearing a retainer. After a while your mouth will adapt and saliva production should return to normal.

If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please call Orthodontics, Inc. at 505-325-8858 to schedule an appointment.

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