We use retainers to prevent teeth from shifting out of their new alignment.
There are many factors that can push teeth out of place, such as receding gums, or wisdom teeth pushing against the other teeth, and to help keep your teeth straight after your braces have been removed, Dr. Scramstad recommends consistent wear of your retainer.
Braces (or aligners) straighten teeth by applying constant pressure to shift the teeth into their new positions. When active treatment is complete, the pressure is no longer applied, and the teeth may slowly start to shift back into the old positions.
No one wants crowded or misaligned teeth, and it’s not just for aesthetic reasons that we should straighten our teeth. Crowded or misaligned teeth can impede proper dental hygiene and can lead to cavities, bite problems, headaches, and TMJ issues. So when you take off your braces, don’t forget to keep up good dental care and wear a retainer.
There are two types of retainers that will help keep your teeth straight once you remove your braces:
An Essix removable is transparent, made from a rigid BPA free plastic, and fits directly on the teeth like a thin mouthguard. Most patients prefer the Essix removable retainers because they are easy to clean and maintain. However, please be aware that they can be easily lost and are not indestructible. Please be careful with them.
A fixed retainer is a wire retainer that is bonded to the back of your teeth. A fixed retainer may be recommended if the teeth that need to be held in position are severely crowded or if you had teeth removed. These are less popular with your dental hygienist as they are difficult to clear around.
Most people just aren’t aware of the amount of pressure we place on our teeth. But when you take a minute to think about how much we use our teeth on a day-to-day basis, you will realize how much wear and tear our teeth endure. And it’s not just the snacks, the chewy, sticky foods, and chewing our way through three meals a day; our teeth are also under pressure from clenching and grinding in our sleep.
When you first remove your braces, the bone around the teeth takes some time to re-mineralize completely. During this stage, it is imperative that your teeth are stabilized by a retainer to ensure long term stability of results. If you have any questions or concerns anytime, please do not hesitate to ask Dr. Scramstad or any of the team at Align Ortho. We are always here to help.