Will my teeth need retainers after I’ve had braces?

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Specialist Orthodontist
Orthodontic Care
BDSc (WA), MDSc. Orth. (WA), F.R.A.C.D.S.

retainersAfter any orthodontic treatment, whether it be Invisalign or conventional braces, you need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions and keep them straight.

Why wear retainers?

There is a very high likelihood of the movement of teeth after braces are removed or after Invisalign treatment, particularly within the first few months. This is because the gums and bone around your teeth need to readjust and firm up.

Also, as we age, our face matures and our jaws continue to change shape, which may result in tooth movement or crowding of the lower front teeth. Some people even believe the eruption of wisdom teeth can cause the teeth to be “pushed” forward; however, research does not substantiate this theory, as tooth movement can still occur whether you’ve had wisdom teeth removed or not.

Types of retainers

Retainers can be a removable appliance (retainer plate) or a fixed wire bonded to the back of your upper or lower front teeth or to both.

How long do I wear retainers?

Initially, to avoid movement of your teeth after braces, you should wear your removable retainers full-time (day and night) for a certain period – which varies from three to six months depending on whether there is also a wire bonded to the back of your teeth. After the required period of full-time wear, you can then progress to wearing your retainers only at night – which you need to do indefinitely. It’s also recommended to keep the fixed bonded wire in place indefinitely.

If you follow the above advice after orthodontic treatment, you’ll give yourself the best chance of maintaining your beautiful straight teeth as long as possible.

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