When your braces come off—or you finish with your last Invisalign® aligner—the orthodontic journey isn’t over. The tooth-movement phase is over, but you then enter a new phase.
In this final step, we’ll keep your teeth in the right positions using retainers. Your bone will then thicken and strengthen around your teeth, locking in your amazing new smile for the long term.
Let’s discuss what you need to know about our clear retainers. If you have any other questions, please reach out to us at Macdonald Orthodontics in Mesa or Gilbert.
Do I Need to Wear Retainers?
We always provide retainers after the active part of orthodontics is finished. Teeth can shift positions for many reasons. Retainers prevent teeth from moving back to their old positions after the active phase of treatment.
We want you to keep benefitting from the hard work you put in while you were wearing braces or aligners. Retainers help:
- Your bone rebuilds itself after teeth have recently moved through it.
- Your teeth stay in healthy new positions with a better bite.
When it’s time to get your retainers, we’ll discuss instructions that will give you the best results.
What Is a Clear Retainer?
In general, retainers are either fixed or removable, which means they either:
- Stay in your mouth all the time: fixed.
- Can be popped out (for meals) or only worn at certain times (like at night): removable.
Fixed retainers usually include a thin, customized wire that is hidden behind your teeth. It’s bonded in place and stays out of the way, holding your teeth in their best positions.
For removable retainers, we use clear retainers. These are practically see-through trays that are custom-designed to fit around your teeth. These retainers firmly fit over your teeth and help maintain their positions.
Clear retainers are exciting because they don’t stand out. If you have a busy school or work schedule, don’t worry about them getting in the way. Other people will hardly notice them, and you can take them out when you have to.
How Long Will I Use Retainers?
You can’t use retainers too much. The more you wear them, the more secure your teeth will be for the rest of your life. After you finish the main phase of orthodontics, expect to wear retainers most of the time for a few weeks, except during meals.
After the first period of time using retainers, you may be able to wear them only at night. This can go on as long as you like, especially when retainers become part of your before-bed brushing and flossing routine.
Taking Care of Retainers
Maintaining retainers is easy. If you take care of them, they have a lifespan of many years before needing replacements. Just remember to:
- Carry them in their designated case when not in use.
- Keep them away from high heat (don’t leave them in a hot car).
- Keep them out of reach of pets.
Take a look at your retainers now and then. If their shape has changed—or if you have trouble putting them in—let us know. If the retainer feels tight, your teeth might have shifted a little, and you should wear it a little more each day.
Get Full-Service Orthodontics at Macdonald Orthodontics in Arizona
Do you want a healthier, better-looking smile? At Macdonald Orthodontics, we provide every step of the orthodontic process in our offices, including consultation, digital impressions, and creating braces and retainers.
It’s convenient to get all this done in a single location with the same caring team. Call us in Mesa or Gilbert for your consultation.