If you’ve been wearing braces to help align your teeth and give you that perfect smile you might not have enjoyed in your younger years, you’re probably eager to finish the process. Even with new technologies like Invisalign braces, it’s only natural to anticipate the removal of those dental devices. You probably even assume that the removal of the braces marks the completion of your orthodontic care – right? Not so fast.
As millions of children discover each year, there’s more to this process than just the braces that realign your teeth. Unfortunately, all that hard work your braces have done to get your teeth aligned properly will be for naught if you neglect the aftercare needed to keep them in their position. And that aftercare requires the use of yet another dental device: the retainer.
Why Wear Retainers?
Dental retainers are perhaps the most critical part of your overall experience with braces. They’re also something that far too many patients fail to wear. According to some estimates, about a third of adult orthodontic patients wore braces in their younger years but didn’t follow through on their retainer aftercare responsibilities. As a result, their teeth moved out of proper alignment, negating the positive results that their braces had provided.
The problem is simple. Your braces force your teeth into proper alignment. As that happens, a portion of your teeth’s stabilizing bone ends up being lost in the process. Naturally, that lost bone gets replaced once the teeth are aligned, but it takes time. As a rule, stabilizing bone will take roughly a year to form in the proper location. The question is this: can your teeth remain in their newly aligned position for up to twelve months without some added support?
That’s not a chance that you should be willing to take.
Retainers help to keep those teeth in place while that supporting bone forms in the months after the braces come off. A properly-fitted retainer prevents the teeth from sliding out of place, and provides extra protection to ensure that your orthodontic work can stand the test of time. If you don’t follow your orthodontist’s recommended aftercare program, your teeth could slip back out of alignment.
Retainers for Life?
Now, here’s the part most people never want to hear: while the first six months are the most critical period for wearing your retainers, you should plan on wearing them for life. You heard that right. Your orthodontist will ask you to wear the custom retainer throughout each day for the first six to twelve months after your braces come off. But even after that, you should still wear it while you sleep to provide that long-term dental security you need.
At Ebenezer Dental, we know how important it is for our patients to have the information they need to make sound dental decisions. That’s why we’re committed to helping our patients with braces better understand the aftercare they need to maximize their orthodontic benefits for life. Give us a call today to discover how the best dentist in midtown Manhattan can help you enjoy the perfect smile of your dreams.