When you finish your orthodontic treatment, you are excited to be free of the appliances you’ve had to put up with — brackets, wires, aligners, and so on. However, while it is certainly important to revel in the freedom of your new smile, equally important is taking the necessary action to retain it. That comes down to one word — retainers.
After completing orthodontic treatment under the care of Dr. Michael Hage, you will be prescribed a retainer that will be custom-made to fit your smile. You will receive instructions for how and when to wear these retainers.
It is recommended that you continue wearing your retainers regularly throughout your lifetime.
Over time your teeth will start to shift toward their original positions. This is because your gum fibers will slowly, but consistently try to pull your teeth back to where they once were. Additionally, as you age your facial skeletal structure changes and your teeth experience natural wear. As a result, the perfectly straight smile you leave the orthodontist with could become unstraightened over time, your teeth becoming the victim to a crowding relapse.
Retention Case Study
The University of Washington conducted a case study in which former orthodontic patients were studied for 10-20 years after completing their orthodontic treatment. These results — without fail, no matter what type of orthodontic treatment the patients underwent (braces, extractions, Invisalign, etc.) they all experienced an orthodontic relapse. In other words, their teeth moved. How straight their smiles remained was directly related to their retainer wear.
When to Wear
For the first three (3) days after your braces are removed, Dr. Hage advises the retainers be worn full time (except while eating or drinking.) After three days, both retainers should be worn at night while sleeping. If you’re not comfortable wearing your retainers while sleeping, find a time throughout the day when you can wear them for 6 hours.
Types of Retainers
- Essix Retainers, made of clear plastic (they look like Invisalign aligners)
- Permanent Retainers, which are glued to the back of your teeth.
- Hawley Retainers, made of metal and acrylic
A Lifetime of Straight Smiles
As your trusted Effingham, Decatur and Mattoon orthodontist, Dr. Michael Hage is dedicated to helping you attain a straight, beautiful smile. Once that’s done, we encourage you to take pride in your smile by doing your part to maintain it throughout the rest of your life. Wear your retainer(s) as often as you can and your teeth will be less likely to shift back to their old positions. For more information about retainers or orthodontic treatment in general, contact Hage Orthodontics at our Effingham, Decatur or Mattoon office!