After wearing braces for several years, they may be coming off for good, and that means you'll get to show off your new smile with straight teeth. However, if you want to preserve your straight smile for the rest of your life, you'll need to make sure you're wearing your retainer. You don't have to wear the retainer all the time, but it's something you should wear when you're sleeping.
The Main Reason You Need to Wear a Retainer
When you were wearing braces, your teeth were shifting into different spots. They may have been slanted, spaced out, and even overlapping one another, but your braces helped to fix those issues, leaving you with straight teeth that look amazing. Because your teeth shifted into place, it's possible for them to shift again if you're not wearing a retainer. While they won't necessarily shift rapidly, it's a problem that can occur within the first few months of getting your braces off. Wearing retainers for at least a year is often highly recommended to keep the teeth from shifting out of place.
How to Choose Your Retainer
Not all retainers are the same. It's best to discuss the options available to you with your dentist. For example, Hawley retainers have been used by dental patients for decades. The retainer is adjusted to fit your mouth and helps keep the teeth in place, but it's made with a visible metal wire. Although Hawley retainers work properly, there is another option to consider. Clear retainers are now available. Before they're made for you, the dentist needs to take molds of your teeth to ensure the clear retainers fit over them perfectly. Many people prefer clear retainers because then they can wear them while they're at home or out and about without worrying about people seeing them wearing their retainers.
Protecting Your Retainer
Once you have a retainer, you'll need to take the right steps to keep it clean and in good condition. The dentist may supply you with an orthodontic retainer case, but if not, you can always purchase a case online. Aside from using the case to store your retainer when you're not using it, make sure you're cleaning your retainer daily. You can find retainer tablets at most drugstores that will easily get rid of bacteria and germs for you.
Now that you're getting your braces off, you're going to need to be prepared to wear a retainer. The retainer will keep your teeth in place now that they've shifted. There are a few different types of retainers you can consider getting, and after you decide on the type of retainer, you'll need to make sure you're wearing it and cleaning it regularly. Contact a company like Brian Smith Orthodontics for more information and assistance.