The day that you get your braces off is a very exciting day that you have no doubt looked forward to since you got your braces put on. With the removal of braces comes the introduction of a different type of orthodontic treatment that you are unfamiliar with, however. While retainers are easier to care for than braces, there are a few things that you should know before getting yours.
Your teeth do not stabilize in their new positions for several months to a year after braces have been removed. The bone and ligament that anchors teeth to the jaw must grow and mature, and retainers help your teeth remain in the desired position during this process. They also protect the teeth from trauma, so that they do not get forcefully moved while in this vulnerable state.
There are three main types: Hawley, Essix, and permanent. Hawley retainers are the removable retainers that are made of wire and plastic and are molded to fit inside of your mouth. Essix retainers are clear, removable, and fit completely over your teeth. Permanent retainers are glued to the back of your teeth, so they are hidden, but not removable. Your orthodontist may try more than one type to find the most effective style.
While teeth shift less after they have been allowed to stabilize, they are still capable of shifting positions at any time. Most often, teeth begin to shift back to their original positions when retainer instructions are not followed properly. This can even happen years after braces have been removed. The lips, tongue, and cheeks also work to keep the teeth in place. However, as the positions of these features change, the teeth positions can change.
Hawley retainers are very noticeable and may make you lisp at first. Essix retainers don’t allow your teeth to touch as they naturally would, so the retainer may feel very strange at first. Permanent retainers may be difficult to floss and may feel uncomfortable on your tongue, requiring dental wax to ease discomfort. The process of getting used to a retainer is worth it, though, as it helps to preserve the work that your braces have done to align your teeth and give you a beautiful smile.
Call the team at Carlyle Orthodontics for the smile you’ve been dreaming of.