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Your Retainer & You: The Importance of Life-Long Retainer Wear

retainers | Angeloni Orthodontics

Congratulations on completing your Invisalign or braces treatment! You and your orthodontist have worked so hard to create that dazzling smile. The next step is to keep it that way! We’ll do that with the help of a retainer. Below, you’ll learn what a retainer is, why it’s important, and the pros and cons of the two types of retainers you may receive.

Why Retainers are Important
While you were completing your orthodontic treatment, whether it was Invisalign or braces, your gums and bones around your teeth were adapting to the new placement of your teeth. Just like the muscles in our bodies take time to get stronger, your gums and the bones around your teeth need time to get nice and strong, too. That’s where a retainer comes in.

Retainers are like insurance on your smile investment.

Retainers hold your teeth in their new, straight and shiny positions. The general rule of thumb is to wear your retainer for as long as you were undergoing treatment. But it’s really different for every person. For some people, retainers may only be required for a few months after treatment. For others, they will be a life-long commitment. Your friendly orthodontist, Dr. Angeloni, will be sure to go over your retainer plan with you and answer any questions you might have.

Removable Retainers
Removable retainers are clear plastic sheets that have been formed over a mold of your teeth. They should be worn at all times immediately following the completion of your aligning treatment except when eating or brushing. Eventually, you’ll be able to pull back to just wearing them at night, and then a few nights a week. While some people stop wearing their retainers, it’s best to stick to some sort of schedule. Otherwise, you might find yourself needing braces or Invisalign all over again!

Pros:
• Take them out whenever, like when you’re eating or brushing
• Easy to clean & easy to floss
• Keeps all teeth in place, not just the ones supported by the permanent retainer

Cons:
• Can get kind of gross if not cleaned properly
• Uncomfortable to wear or affect the way you talk during the day

Fixed Retainers
Fixed retainers are–just like it sounds—wires that are attached to your teeth. These kinds of retainers are generally used on the lower teeth because they’re the teeth that are most likely to relapse into their old positions. To create a fixed retainer, a wire is bonded to the back of your teeth, usually your lower canines and incisors. These fixed retainers are ideal for certain situations, but may not be the best retainer of choice for every patient. Fixed retainers, require similar maintenance to the fixed brackets and wires of traditional braces. It might be an adjustment at first, as your tongue won’t be used to the company, but eventually, you may even forget the retainer is even there!

Pros:
• Can’t get lost or forgotten
• Hidden behind your teeth, so no one knows it’s there
• Has little to no impact on how you speak

Cons:
• Food can get stuck behind your retainer and it’s harder to floss around
• At risk of debonding or breaking which would require an emergency repair visit or the teeth may start to shift
• Teeth can surprisingly still move even when bonded the fixed wire retainer

Regardless of which retainer you and your orthodontist choose, it’s super important to commit to it. Otherwise, more treatment might be necessary to re-straighten teeth that moved back into their old positions. If you have questions about your retainer or are interested in learning about your options, make an appointment with Dr. Angeloni today.

Angeloni Orthodontics is a proud member of the beautiful Winter Garden community! Our office prides itself on nurturing close, personal relationships with our patients while providing services–like Invisalign–to create stunning smiles. Make an appointment with Dr. Angeloni today!

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