If you’ve recently gotten your braces off, you may be wondering exactly how important it is to keep wearing your retainer, day after day, when you’ve already put in all the work of wearing braces. If you know any adults who are undergoing Round 2 of braces a decade after having first gotten theirs off, then you already know the answer!
Teeth Like Their Original Homes
The truth is, braces alone will probably not keep your teeth where they should be for the rest of your life. Teeth like to gravitate back toward their original positions, which is why your retainer is so important.
Teeth Move Positions Throughout Life
If you only had minor correction with your braces, you may think you don’t need to wear your retainer. But the truth is that minor tooth movement occurs in every person’s mouth throughout their lives, regardless of whether they’ve had braces or not. Braces move teeth into the best possible position for oral health, and wearing a retainer can help minimize or even completely eliminate the natural movement of teeth.
Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions About Retainer Use
The good news is you won’t have to wear your retainer 24 hours a day forever. Most of the time, one to two years is the recommended period for full-time use, depending on the level of correction. After that, you’ll only need to wear your retainer at night. This is the time when people start to get a little lazy about wearing their retainer, but it’s vital that you keep wearing it.
Be Honest with Your Orthodontist
Even ten, twenty, or fifty years down the road, it’s still important to wear your retainer, so if it breaks, it’s important to visit your orthodontist. If you go through a period of not wearing your retainer and then find your retainer no longer fits it’s very likely your teeth are shifting, therefore, it’s very important to visit your orthodontist.
Whether your teeth have moved enough to require braces or Invisalign, or whether a new retainer can be molded to prevent further movement, it’s important to commit to your oral health by visiting your orthodontist and assessing any level of re-correction that might be needed. Don’t worry — you’re not going to “get in trouble.” We just want to ensure you’re getting the best treatment for your teeth!
Orthodontic Care from Elrod Ortho
Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping both teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles. If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!