Oh, happy day! After what seems like forever, the day has arrived for your braces (or your Invisalign attachments) to come off! Once you are informed that your treatment is complete, your orthodontist and/or your assistant at JT Orthodontics will take physical or digital molds of your teeth to make retainers and explained to you how these will help in preserving your beautiful final result. Understandably, the happiness on hearing the good news can overshadow the retainer conversation, and you might be surprised to hear that the retainers should be worn regularly.
Just like teeth can be moved into a correct alignment and bite, they can also relapse to their previous positions or change positions without regular retainer wear. Why?
Teeth are attached to ligaments, which have a type of “memory” and will pull the teeth back into their previous positions. Additionally, forces such as from teeth grinding and a strong tongue can change the position of your teeth. Retainers help keep things in place due to the relapse tendency and counteract the forces that can change your beautiful results.
Retainers are just as important in Phase I treatment in order to keep teeth in place as we wait for other permanent teeth to come into position. Some retainers can also have features prescribed by your Board certified orthodontist to start correction of other problems (such as a deep bite) as you grow.
Overall, retainers help ensure that the time you spent in treatment is not in vain. Initially you might have to wear your retainers all the time, but as your final tooth positions become more stabilize your doctor will adjust your wear time. While wearing and maintaining retainers might seem an inconvenience, your retainers are your BFF and your number one tool to preserve that beautiful smile!