Braces are hardly greeted positively, so wanting to rid your mouth of any additions post treatment is more than understandable! However, it is possible for the teeth to return to their original position, thus negating the entirety of your brace treatment. That is, unless retainers are used.
What is a retainer?
Put simply, a retainer is a removable device, usually made of plastic and wires, which keeps in place (or ‘retains’) the position of your teeth after brace treatment. Retainers come in the three types: Hawley, Essix and Bonded. Hawley retainers are the best known of the three types and utilise a metal wire that surrounds the teeth to keep them in place, they also have the added benefit of being adjustable for minor tooth movement. Essix retainers are clear, made of PVC and similar in appearance to ‘invisalign’ braces. Bonded retainers consist of a wire that is permanently bonded to the back of your teeth.
It can take months for your teeth to set post-treatment and they will be especially prone to ‘relapse’ after the first month, so it is crucial that you wear a retainer during this period! At this stage your retainer should be worn throughout the day, except for when you eat or brush your teeth. Your dentist will most likely guide you through how long you should wear a retainer in this manner. This period could be anything between two and twelve months, but can, in some circumstances, be more. It is recommended that, following this, the retainer is still worn occasionally, whilst sleeping for instance, to prevent any possible problems from occurring in the future. This goes especially for people with tongue thrust issues!
Remember: Attend your check-ups, listen to your dentist near Foxrock and wear your retainer or all that hard work may be for nought!