The Need for a Retainer

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Your braces moved your teeth into their ideal alignment through the course of multiple adjustment sessions. This will provide you with a functional mouth and appealing smile for many years to come. If your braces are about to be removed, you will most likely need to wear a retainer.

Your teeth are held in place by a series of periodontal ligaments. Even though your teeth have achieved their ideal alignment these periodontal ligaments still have some residual tension. If you don’t wear a retainer this residual tension will eventually start to pull your teeth back toward your old bite pattern. This process is called relapse.

There are several different types of retainers. The one that is right for you will be influenced by how much adjustment your teeth needed and the shape of your jaw. The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley.

You will be fitted for your retainer shortly after your braces are removed. This usually involves a series of x-rays to give us a clear picture of what’s going on in your jaw structure and helps to determine just how long you’ll need to wear your retainer. This is followed up by taking a bite impression.

How long you need to wear the retainer will also vary. However the general rule of thumb is that you will need to wear it for about as long as you were wearing braces.

If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please feel free to call us at 269-964-7660 to schedule an appointment.