Everything You Need To Know About Retainers

The whole team at Wilson Orthodontics is always excited to see a patient’s stunning new smile when their braces come off or their last aligner gets used, but that’s just a step in the lifetime journey of maintaining a healthy smile! Every orthodontic journey concludes with a retainer, an appliance that’s essential for ensuring that you keep your results for a lifetime of smiles. Many patients don’t understand how important retainers are for keeping their new smile straight once active treatment is complete, so keep reading below to learn everything you need to know about retainers! 

What is a retainer, anyway? How does it work?

A retainer is an orthodontic appliance, just like braces and aligners. Except, instead of actively shifting your teeth into a new, more optimal position, retainers simply hold your teeth in place. Wearing a retainer regularly helps to keep your newly straightened teeth in place by preventing a phenomenon known as “relapse.” This describes the natural tendency of the teeth to drift back to their original, unadjusted positions over time, even after orthodontic treatment is complete. 

Although relapse occurs most often in the late teens and early twenties, it can happen at any time. That’s because your teeth tend to “remember” where they were originally positioned in your mouth, and if there’s no pressure on them, they’ll begin shifting back towards those spaces. After you’re done with your braces or aligners, Dr. Evan Wilson will use an impression of your teeth to create a retainer that’s custom-designed to fit your mouth. This retainer will provide the pressure that’s necessary to keep your teeth in their new positions instead of moving back to the old ones! 

It’s very important to wear your retainer exactly as directed. Failure to do so can undo all your hard-earned progress and, over time, leave your smile right back where it began. This can happen faster than you may think, so be sure to stick to the guidelines you’re given along with your retainer. 

Everything You Need To Know About Retainers

What types of retainers are available?

At Wilson Orthodontics, we most commonly use Essix removable retainers to help you keep your smile in place. Essix retainers are composed of a clear plastic material similar to the kind used with Invisalign aligners, and are custom-made to fit your mouth following the first phase of orthodontic treatment. 

Essix retainers have become very popular recently with both orthodontists and patients. Their lightweight, comfortable design and simple care makes them very appealing to patients and orthodontists alike. An Essix retainer is molded to the unique shape of your mouth and much less noticeable than the more traditional wire retainers. As long as you take good care of it, your Essix retainer will last as long as you need it!

It’s really easy to keep your teeth and gums clean with this removable option since it makes dental hygiene simple. However, you will be responsible for wearing your removable retainer exactly as directed by Dr. Wilson. To avoid misplacing or damaging it, be careful when handling your retainer and be mindful of where it is at all times.

Everything You Need To Know About Retainers

Keep your smile in place with a retainer from Wilson Orthodontics

Most orthodontic experts now agree that the majority of patients will need to wear some type of retainer indefinitely post-treatment, although in most cases only at night or part-time. This is the best way to achieve a beautifully straight smile that will last a lifetime! Don’t let that recommendation scare you away—before you know it, your retainer will be just another part of your daily routine.  

At Wilson Orthodontics, our expert team is committed to finding exactly the right orthodontic treatment for your special smile. That includes finding the right type of retainer for your needs! Our goal is to provide you with personalized care and world-class service from your first visit to your last—and beyond. Wherever you are in the treatment process, we’ve got you covered! 

Do you have questions or concerns about your treatment plan or using a retainer? We’d love to hear from you, so get in touch today and let us know what you need. We’ll be happy to help you however we can!