What is the Purpose of a Mouth Retainer? The Process Beyond Braces
If you have ever had braces then you know the presence of a mouth retainer, where they are worn for a while after your braces come off. The purpose of the retainer is to keep your teeth where they are, and prevent them from sliding back into their original place. They often do this well, allowing the bones to heal and the teeth to get used to their new spots in the mouth.
If you want to know more about your mouth retainer and how it can help you out after the post pediatric braces procedure, then read on!
Why Are Mouth Retainers Needed?
Once your braces come off and you have a straight smile, you might think that the process is done and you never need to put anything on your teeth again. However, braces exert pressure on your teeth and push the teeth toward being straight, once the braces and that pressure are removed, your muscle memory activates. Then your muscles and tendons in your mouth want to go back to the way things were and they slowly start to move your teeth back.
In order to stop your mouth from undoing the work of your braces, you need to use a mouth retainer to straighten teeth, and your orthodontist will prescribe a type of mouth retainer. This retainer will be molded to the shape of your mouth and will help keep your teeth where they should be.
The Two Types Of Retainers
There are two types of retainers that can stop your teeth from going back to their pre-braces position. Permanent retainers are bonded to the teeth and can’t be removed at all, but they are unnoticeable. They last indefinitely, are easy to use, and the permanent retainers are completely invisible. So unless you tell someone you are wearing them, they probably won’t know!
The main problem with permanent retainers is that it can be very hard to keep up with your oral hygiene, especially flossing. The retainer is bonded to your mouth, and it can’t be removed, which can lead to an increase in the buildup of plaque and tartar in your mouth, which can lead to oral health problems.
Removable mouth retainers are also an option, and these work similarly to Invisalign or other clear braces options. They will typically last about six to twelve months, and are either made of plastic or polyurethane. These removable mouth retainers are fitted so that they can exert the necessary amount of pressure on your teeth, are also invisible to the naked eye, and can be removed for eating and cleaning.
However, the main problem with removable retainers is that that they need to be replaced around every year or so. If you also have any major dental work done on your mouth, then new impressions of the retainers need to be made as well. Plus, it can be very easy to lose the retainer during everyday life, and if you don’t have a backup copy ready then you might run into some problems.
Additionally, if you don’t take the time to clean the retainer out, they can become a home for bacteria and that can lead to problems with your oral health. Now, getting a permanent or removable mouth retainer is a choice you need to make, and one or the other isn’t better or worse. It just depends on what you want and what will benefit your mouth health the most.
How Long Do I Need To Use My Retainer?
No matter what type of retainer you end up getting, you might wonder how long you need to use it until your teeth get used to their new position in the mouth. This is easily one of the retainer faq that keeps getting asked at our offices. Well, permanent mouth retainers are permanent but for removable retainers, it will depend.
Most of the time you will need to wear your retainer all the time for one year until the braces are removed, but even with removable retainers, you might need to wear them for the rest of your life, because the acts of chewing, talking, and cleaning your teeth can lead to your teeth moving back to their former positions in the mouth.
You will also need to visit your orthodontist every few months for checkups so they can examine your retainer in mouth and ensure that your teeth are staying where they are and not moving. Additionally, you need to go to your orthodontist immediately if your retainer is lost, cracked, or broken so it can be replaced before your teeth relapse back into their old positions.
Always try to get out ahead of a relapse with your teeth, because if they move too far back from their new positions, then you might have to start the process with the pediatric braces all over again! No one wants to do that!
Mouth Retainers Will Always Be Useful And Needed For Your Teeth
Once you get done with your braces, then you need to make sure to find the best retainer for your needs, as well as how much time and energy you are willing to spend on your retainers. So don’t be afraid to research your specific options and talk to your orthodontist to make sure you pick the right choice.
While you might need to deal with your chosen retainer and its effects on your mouth for a very long time, you shouldn’t let it stop you from living a good life! You have a fixed smile and straight teeth, so keep them that way while also showing them off! Smile more, eat what you couldn’t eat before with your braces on, and rededicate yourself to your oral hygiene routine.
Your smile will thank you for all the extra effort, and your retainer for mouth option will stop being a hindrance and instead be a way for you to maintain that beautiful smile you now have!
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