Wearing an adult retainer is actually fairly common. There is a misconception that when people get their braces off, they are done with orthodontic treatment. This is not the case. Once the initial work is complete a smile will look beautiful, but there is far more to the process. Namely, there is a retention phase that is critical to adhere to. This is the part of the treatment process where a retainer needs to be worn. When someone first gets their braces off, it may be necessary to wear the retainer 24 hours a day. However, eventually, most people only need to wear the retainer at night. This ensures that teeth remain in place and do not go back to their original position.
Why is a retainer necessary?
As mentioned, it works to hold the teeth in place. Some people are at a greater risk of teeth moving back than others. There are contributing factors such as a tongue thrust that can make teeth more likely to move out of position. Also, people who have not had their wisdom teeth removed may find that the wisdom teeth place pressure and push teeth forward.
These are just two examples of risk factors that some patients have. However, virtually everyone could have the risk of teeth moving back into their original position without wearing a retainer. Because of that, many adults will wear a retainer for the rest of their life. Even if it is not necessary every evening, wearing it a couple of times a week may be enough to keep teeth in the correct position.
What are my options for an adult retainer?
Traditionally, a retainer had a metal piece that surrounded the front of the teeth. It could be slipped in and out of the mouth and adjusted by visiting an orthodontist to have the metal wire moved. We still offer this type of retainer for patients who are interested in it. However, there is another option that is more discreet. Many of our adult patients prefer to have a clear plastic retainer that surrounds their teeth entirely. There are several benefits of this type of retainer.
A clear plastic retainer is discreet and nearly invisible. This is beneficial because it allows adults who do not want to make it obvious they are wearing a retainer to do so on a daily or nightly basis.
Another benefit is that the plastic retainer can hold its shape more easily. With a wire retainer, it is possible for patients to accidentally bend the wire portion. If it becomes bent, pressure could be placed in areas where it should not be. This can actually lead to teeth moving out of position due to the force of the retainer. This is why we recommend patients remove their retainer with two hands and do what is necessary to keep it in a safe place. Still, a plastic retainer can help to prevent this problem.
Replacing an adult retainer
Many adults visit us because they need to have their retainer replaced. It is easy to lose a retainer and sometimes, even if retainer has not been lost, a patient will visit us wanting to get a new one in order to ensure that is fresh and working like it should. If you have lost your retainer and would like a new one, call us right away. We will be happy to replace it for you and ensure that your teeth continue to remain in the correct position. For help, call today.
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