Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit
About Me
Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. My name is Debbie and I am a housewife from Alice Springs, Australia. I love the life I have here with my wonderful husband and our four kids. It all started about a year ago when I realised that I couldn't read the label on a jar of food I was trying to open. I asked my husband if there was a problem with the way the label had been printed but he said he could read it just fine. He booked me an appointment at Vision2000Kota and they carried out some test to rule out any serious problems. Thankfully, I just needed to start wearing glasses. I hope you enjoy my health and medical blog.

Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit

No Retain, No Gain: Why it is Important that You Wear Your Retainer after Braces

Regina Barnett

The day you have your braces removed is a day of celebration. Your teeth are finally free of the wires and brackets, and you can show off your newly straightened teeth to world. However, your treatment shouldn't end with braces, unless you are willing to run the risk of "orthodontic relapse".

Orthodontic relapse refers to your teeth's natural tendency to move back to their former position, the undesirable position they inhabited before you wore braces. Unfortunately, the risk of relapse is high with research showing that 10 years after treatment, only 30-50% of patients maintain the satisfactory results gained from wearing braces.

This is why it is so important that you wear a retainer after orthodontic treatment. After investing so much time and money on attaining the smile you always desired, you wouldn't want all that effort to go to waste.

Why Teeth Drift Back

If you neglect to wear your retainer for a week or two, what will happen is that the next time you attempt to put it on, you might find it is painful and requires substantial effort to fit over your teeth.

This is because your teeth are constantly on the move, even if you aren't consciously aware of it. Over a lifetime, your teeth have a natural tendency to shift toward the front of your mouth, and this phenomenon is referred to as "mesial drift". Therefore, any overcrowding issues you may have had before wearing braces will gradually return as your teeth move forward.

Likewise, twisted or crooked teeth will also return to their former positions, and gaps which were closed have a tendency to open again over time.

You Can Gradually Reduce the Time Spent Wearing a Retainer

All cases differ but your dentist or orthodontist will likely recommend that for at least the first 6 months or so, for best results, you should wear your retainer around the clock. The good news is that after this period has passed, you may then only need to wear your retainer overnight, whilst you sleep.

However, if you wish to ensure that your smile remains straight, then you need to get used to idea that you and your retainer are bonded for life.

Develop a Strict Routine When Removing Your Retainer

This should only apply for the first few months—unless you have a dog at home, in which case it should apply forever—but you will need to be develop a routine so that you don't lose your retainer. During meals, always wrap your retainer or return it to its container, and place it in your pocket. Never leave it on the table as you eat, especially when at a restaurant, or at school.

If you own a dog, keep in mind that dogs can't resist the lure of a nice chewy object that resembles your retainer!

Although wearing a retainer around the clock for several months may be a nuisance, just think about the possibilities that may arise should you choose not to. Would you really go through all those months of braces all over again? For more information, contact your dentist.