Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

After months of anticipation, the day has finally arrived to complete aligner treatment or remove your braces at Sturgill Orthodontics! But your orthodontic journey doesn’t end here. What comes next is crucial for maintaining that perfect smile—getting your retainer! Why is it important to use a retainer after braces? Let’s find out! 

Bone Remodeling

In order to understand retainers, you have to know about bone remodeling! When you think of orthodontic treatment, braces are usually the star of the show. But what happens behind the scenes in your mouth is equally fascinating and essential. This behind-the-scenes action involves a process known as bone remodeling. This biological process is critical during and after your time with braces. It plays a pivotal role in achieving that perfect smile.

Bone remodeling is the body’s way of adapting to new pressures and environments. When braces apply pressure to teeth, it isn’t just the visible part of your teeth that moves. The bones and tissues around them adjust, too. This adjustment happens because, under pressure, the bone in the path of the moving tooth dissolves while new bone forms behind it to support the tooth in its new position. This continuous cycle of breaking down and building up bone is what allows your teeth to move gradually and safely. 

The Role Of A Retainer

While retainers may not seem as significant as the braces themselves, a retainer’s role is paramount in the orthodontic world. Its job is to ensure that all the hard work done by the braces doesn’t go to waste.

After your braces come off, your teeth and jawbones are still adjusting. During the retainer phase, also known as the retention period, the bones and ligaments around your teeth are soft and pliable, and without proper support, your teeth are prone to shifting back to their original positions. This is where the retainer comes in, holding everything in place. 

What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Retainer?

Imagine spending time, effort, and finances to get that perfect smile, only to have it start shifting out of place. That’s what can happen if a retainer isn’t used as directed. 

Without a retainer, your teeth can quickly begin to drift back toward their original positions, a phenomenon known as orthodontic relapse. The retainer’s job is to prevent this movement and maintain the alignment of your teeth as your mouth adapts to the changes brought about by the braces. It’s an essential tool that helps solidify the results of your orthodontic treatment and ensures that your smile stays straight and beautiful for years to come.

If you don’t wear your retainer, you risk having to restart metal braces, Invisalign clear aligners, InBrace hidden braces, or clear braces. As much as we love seeing you, we know that you want to finish treatment as soon as possible and begin enjoying the benefits of a perfectly aligned smile. Wearing your retainer is how you can make it happen.

How Long Will I Need To Wear A Retainer?

Every patient’s braces or aligner journey is unique, and it’s the same for the retention period. How long you will need to wear your retainer will depend on many factors, including the severity of your case and how well you follow the instructions provided for you by your Sturgill Orthodontics orthodontist.

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Are There Different Types Of Retainers?

Yes, just like there are various types of braces, there are different types of retainers, too, to fit your lifestyle or orthodontic needs.

Retainers can be fixed or removable. 

Removable retainers are custom-made devices that come in two styles—Hawley and Essix. Hawley retainers are the more “traditional” and widely known type. They are typically made of acrylic and wires and kind of look like braces without the brackets. Essix retainers are clear plastic trays similar to our Invisalign clear aligners. Removable trainers can and should be removed for cleaning, eating, drinking, and oral hygiene.

Fixed retainers are not removable, but you won’t have to remember to wear or keep track of them. Unlike removable retainers, they are 100% invisible because they are bonded to the back of the teeth.

Each style and type comes with its pros and cons. When it comes time for you to transition to a fixed retainer, an Essix retainer, or a Hawley retainer, Dr. Sturgill, Dr. Williams, or Dr. Harper, will help you determine the best one for you!

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Make The Most Of Your Orthodontic Experience With Sturgill Orthodontics!

At Sturgill Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to creating your perfect smile and ensuring it remains beautiful and straight long after the braces or aligners come off. If you want to know if you qualify for Invisalign or Invisalign for Teens or have questions about the braces process, schedule a free consultation with us in Johnson City, Bristol, or Norton. We would love to create a custom treatment plan for you and start your smile transformation.

Already a patient and want to know more about the retention period or how we make our in-house retainers? Give us a call! We’re here to help.