Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

At Dr. Lili & Associates, you can count on us to keep you informed when it comes to keeping your smile beautiful and healthy! And let us let you in on a little secret — it’s all about retainers! It’s true you may be wondering, “Why is it important to use a retainer after braces?” and we can tell you with confidence that it can make all the difference! Read on to learn more. 

The Importance of Retainers After Braces

After the braces come off, the journey to a perfect smile isn’t over yet. Retainers are crucial in this next phase to ensure that the beautiful results achieved with braces are maintained long-term. At Dr. Lili & Associates, we stress the importance of this post-treatment phase to all our patients, ensuring they understand why retainers are a pivotal part of their orthodontic journey.

What Retainers Do

Retainers are custom-made devices, typically made of wires or clear plastic, that hold teeth in position after surgery or any method of realigning teeth. After your teeth are moved into position with braces, tissues around them need time to stabilize. During this time, teeth are prone to return to their original positions, a process known as relapse. Retainers play a crucial role in preventing this, ensuring the teeth remain in their desired alignment while the surrounding gums and bones adjust.

Long-term Benefits of Using Retainers

The consistent use of retainers offers numerous long-term benefits. They not only prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original positions but also help in maintaining the general health of your teeth and gums. Proper alignment of teeth, maintained by wearing retainers, contributes to better oral hygiene, as misaligned teeth can be harder to clean and more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. Furthermore, retainers support the new position of your jaw and improve speech if tooth misalignment had previously impacted pronunciation.

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Choosing the Right Retainer

Selecting the correct type of retainer is crucial to ensure the stability of your orthodontic treatment results. At Dr. Lili & Associates, we provide detailed guidance and options to help you choose a retainer that fits your specific needs and lifestyle. Each type of retainer offers unique benefits, and understanding these can help you make an informed decision.

Types of Retainers

Retainers generally come in two main types: fixed and removable. Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire that is permanently attached to the back of the front teeth. They are especially good for patients who may not remember to wear a removable retainer regularly but require constant tooth stabilization. Removable retainers can be taken out of the mouth for eating and cleaning. They come in two styles: the Hawley retainer, made of metal and acrylic, and the clear plastic retainer, similar to Invisalign aligners. Each has its own advantages and Dr. Lili or Dr. Wu will work with you to figure out which fits best with your lifestyle. 

Retainer Care and Maintenance

Maintaining your retainer is critical for its effectiveness. We provide detailed retainer care instructions, which include regular cleaning to prevent bacterial build-up and checking for wear and tear. Proper care ensures that your retainer remains hygienic and functional over its useful life. For removable retainers, we recommend keeping them in a protective case when not in use to avoid damage or loss.

How to Use Your Retainer Effectively

It’s just as important to use your retainer correctly as it is to choose the right one. Luckily, it’s not too hard to make sure you’re doing it right. Just follow Dr. Lili or Dr. Wu’s instructions and you’re probably right on track! 

When and How Long to Wear Your Retainer

The schedule for wearing your retainer can vary depending on your treatment plan. Initially, you may need to wear your retainer all day and night, removing it only for eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing your teeth. 

Over time, you’ll generally transition to night-time only. Dr. Lili or Dr. Wu will provide a tailored schedule based on your specific orthodontic needs.

Adjusting to Life with a Retainer

Adjusting to a retainer can take a little time, especially if it’s your first experience with one. You might notice initial discomfort or difficulty in speaking. However, these challenges usually subside quickly as you get accustomed to the device. We recommend practicing speaking and reading aloud to speed up the adjustment period. Also, if you experience any irritation in your gums or other areas of your mouth, contact us immediately so we can adjust the fit of your retainer.

Troubleshooting Common Retainer Issues

Common issues with retainers include discomfort, breakage, and loss. At Dr. Lili & Associates, we equip our patients with the knowledge to handle these situations effectively. For discomfort, ensure the retainer is clean and fitting correctly. If it feels unusually uncomfortable, it might need adjusting. For breakages, keep all the pieces and bring them to your appointment for repair or replacement. If you lose your retainer, contact us as soon as possible to get a replacement, as prolonged periods without wearing a retainer can lead to teeth shifting.

Why is It Important to Use a Retainer After Braces?

Ready to Start Smiling? Give us a Call! 

At Dr. Lili & Associates, we’re obsessed with your smile! Consultations are always free, and you can have confidence that your orthodontic care is in the hands of board-certified expert orthodontists like Dr. Lili Mirtorabi and Dr. Jennifer Wu, both born and raised right here in Southern California! Schedule your free consultation now at one of our modern offices, conveniently located in Anaheim, El Monte, Huntington Park, Lawndale, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Whittier. We can’t wait to see you!