Life after orthodontic treatment!…. Do I really need to wear my retainers?

After orthodontic treatment is complete, patients always ask, “Dr. Sheinis, do I really need to wear my retainers?”  To keep that beautiful Shiney smile, the answer is always YES!

Your teeth are attached with tons of little ligaments. Think of these ligaments like rubber bands. These ligaments have “memory”, just as your muscles do.  After your teeth are aligned, the ligaments want to pull your teeth back to their original positions. Without a retainer to hold your perfect smile in place, they won’t stay perfect for long.

There are essentially two types of retainers: fixed and removable.

The fixed retainer is created by bonding a thin wire behind your front teeth.  This permanently holds the teeth, until it either falls out later in life or is removed by the orthodontist.

The removable retainers come in two versions and both are custom made; the first being a clear plastic “essix” that is placed over your teeth for a perfect and snug fit. The second has acrylic on the palate with a wire attached to it and sits on the front of the teeth. This retainer is also known as a “Hawley”.

The best type of retainer for your individual needs will be chosen at the end of your treatment.

Cleaning and maintaining your retainers is just as an important part as making sure to wear them. There are a variety of retainer/denture cleaners that work great for any type of retainer, along with cold water and a toothbrush regularly. For a fixed retainer it is important to floss it often with floss threaders or super floss. Also remember to go for your regular dental visits for cleaning and maintenance every 6 months.

And finally, the top 10 best excuses for broken or lost retainers:

10) I threw them out with my lunch

9) I put them in my pants during gym and somebody stole my pants during gym

8) I dropped my retainer on the floor and it broke

7) I boiled them in hot water to sterilize them

6) I lost them on vacation

5) My retainer shrunk and it doesn’t fit anymore

4) I lost it YESTERDAY

3) My mom ran over it with her car

2) I was on a roller coaster and when I screamed it fell out

1) My dog ate them