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Hearing that you may need to wear a retainer may seem like a scary thing at first, but that’s probably because you’re not all that familiar with what they are and what they do. Once you take the mystery out of retainers, you’ll discover that they are simple devices for maintaining your bite and sometimes addressing other conditions.
You may have seen someone wearing a retainer before, but it might not have been all that noticeable. The retainer we use in our Tampa orthodontics office and our Brandon orthodontics office is custom-made out of clear plastic to fit your unique teeth. This is part of your orthodontic treatment that we customize for you.
Using retainers is an integral part of any successful orthodontic treatment plan. The length of time a retainer must be worn varies for each person, but it is essential after having your braces removed. During the process of wearing braces, your teeth have been moved into the desired position, but they are not yet settled into the gum and jaw. Wearing a retainer helps to further set your teeth in their new position.
Once your braces have been removed, you will wear the retainer according to a detailed schedule, typically 24 hours a day to start until you’re weaned down to a maintenance level. This effort helps to ensure that your new tooth placement is retained.
There are other conditions that call for a retainer as part of corrective treatment, as well. We commonly use retainers to address bruxism, or grinding your teeth while sleeping. The cost of a set of clear retainers to keep from grinding your teeth is much less expensive than getting crowns in the future.
It is wise to continue to wear your retainer as long as you want straight teeth. If you do not wear your retainer, your teeth may keep moving until they’ve moved out of place.
Caring for your retainer is simple. We recommend that you clean it daily with cool tap water in order to maintain good oral hygiene and get rid of plaque and food particles. If needed, use a very diluted soft dish soap, brushing gently with a soft toothbrush before rinsing thoroughly. Be careful not to scrub, crush, or crack your retainer while cleaning it. There are also cleaning crystals available on the market that are effective in cleaning your retainer.
Retainers are simple devices that do an important job. Whether helping to get teeth settled in after braces or correcting another condition, they are a treatment option that can help you feel more confident and more comfortable.