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The Importance of Retainers

Your braces are finally off! You’ve followed every instruction from your orthodontist in Melbourne, FL and now you have the perfect smile, forever and ever — right? Not exactly. Whenever a person’s braces come off, their new best friend becomes their retainers. While retainers are more comfortable than braces, they are a vital part of ensuring that you keep the straight teeth you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

Retainers Prevent Post-Treatment Teeth Shifting

A course of treatment with braces shifts the teeth from their original position into a new one. When the braces come off, the teeth naturally want to try to shift back to their original position. This is true for every patient who gets braces here at Reddick Orthodontics.

The tendency for the teeth to shift will lessen eventually, but it can be an important issue for about the first 18 months after your braces are removed. This is true whether you are an adult patient or a teen, and whether you have worn traditional braces or Invisalign.

What’s a Retainer?

A retainer is a mouthpiece that is made from plastic and/or metal. Retainers have one big advantage over braces: They are removable, so you can take them out for meals and for brushing your teeth.

Your retainer will be made from a mold that is taken inside your mouth after your braces are removed. There are two types of retainers:

  • Hawley Retainers: These are an acrylic retainer that fits against the roof of the mouth and the backs of the upper teeth. A wire goes around the teeth to hold them in the desired position.
  • Essix Retainers: This clear plastic-only type of retainer looks very similar to an Invisalign mouthguard. They are barely noticeable and fit over the teeth to hold them in place.

During the first period of months after your braces are removed, your friendly Melbourne orthodontist will recommend that you wear your retainer all the time. This includes while you are asleep. Other than taking it out for meals and brushing, the retainer should stay in place until those stubborn teeth start to accept their new locations!

Duration of Wearing Retainers

The length of time that you will need to wear a retainer day and night varies on a case by case basis. One person might need to keep the retainer in for three months, while another might need to wear it for 18 months after having their braces removed. Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on this — and you should definitely follow those instructions.

Your teeth will settle eventually and at that point, you will only need to wear the retainer at night. Be aware that nightly retainer wearing can last for an additional one to three years. This is to prevent your teeth from having an orthodontic relapse, which you don’t want to happen after you have invested this much energy into the process!

Once your orthodontist is positive that your teeth have settled into place, you can reduce your nightly retainer use. Your orthodontist will recommend just two or three nights per week. This will be for an indefinite period of time.

The Risk of Not Wearing Your Retainer

Most teens do a great job of diligently wearing their retainers for the first few years after braces come off. Then, as they move into young adulthood, they become less diligent. They tend to “forget,” or they assume that they’re all grown up and their teeth are done shifting. This is not true!

If you don’t wear your retainer as directed by your Melbourne orthodontist, your teeth are going to shift over time. The results will be visible. Thus, the time, effort, and money you put into correcting your teeth will essentially have been for nothing.

The lesson: Wear your retainer as directed for life-long straight teeth!

If Your Retainer No Longer Fits

Many people continue growing a little bit as they enter their 20s. Even a tiny bit of growth can result in a retainer that no longer fits, or which becomes really tight.

If you find yourself having to force your retainer onto your teeth or if it won’t fit at all, it’s a simple process to get a new one. Contact our office at Reddick Orthodontics. We’ll measure your mouth and get you fitted with a new retainer.

Greetings, 

We have missed seeing everyone!  We are finally able to go back to work and look forward to seeing all of our patients and their families.  We are in the process of calling everyone who has missed an appointment during our forced office closure to reschedule and get back on track.  We will be working overtime in the coming months to do what we can to help. Unfortunately, our time out of work will delay treatment completion for many and for that we are truly sorry.  Most importantly, we hope this message finds everyone happy and healthy.

The health and safety of our patients, their families, and the community remain our primary focus.  We are taking as many precautions as possible for prevention of spreading COVID-19.  We will remain vigilant with our sterilization and disinfection protocols and we will  be taking additional precautionary measures as well.   If the patient or an immediate family member has been sick in the past two weeks, we ask that you please call us to reschedule the appointment to a later date as a precaution.

To limit the traffic in our building, we will be adjusting to a “parking lot waiting area”.  We will have a staff member come out to each vehicle to greet you and check the patient in.  Please call the office if you are not promptly greeted.  There are some types of appointments that require a parent’s participation, so we ask that anyone accompanying the patient into the office wear a mask or face covering.  We can provide masks if necessary. 

We will only be utilizing half of our operatories to maintain significant distance between patients.  We ask that all of our patients please thoroughly brush their teeth prior to their appointments to limit use of our toothbrushing area.  We have also installed plexiglass barriers between our front desk and the waiting area.  As always, we will continue to be committed to giving each of our patients the best experience possible!

Thank you for your understanding!

The Reddick Orthodontics Team