The Retainer Rundown

If you have had Orthodontic Treatment you’ve probably been there. It is your big day! You’re sitting in the chair, running your tongue over your slimy teeth, feeling a new sense of freedom…and then it happens…the Orthodontist hands YOU a retainer. Then, if that isn’t enough, she tells you to wear it every night…. Is she serious? How is that possible? You’ve done your time! They must have you confused with someone else, right? Nope. It’s all yours!

Why can’t you just take your chances without one?
Let’s start by talking about what a retainer does. Just like the name says, it retains. In this case, it is retaining all the hard work you and your Orthodontic Team put into that awesome smile of yours. In other words, when it is worn regularly, it helps to slow movement and keep teeth as close as possible to where they were the day you had your braces taken off. IT’S MAGIC! Ok, not really, it’s science, but we think science can be pretty magical.

If you lose it can you just borrow one from your brother? It looks exactly the same.
Nope again. Although retainers may look the same at first glance, just like snowflakes, no two are alike. Your retainer is custom made just for you with the impressions or scans we take of your beautiful, post-ortho teeth.

Why do some retainers have a metal wire and some are clear plastic?
We use 3 different kinds of retainers in our office. Clear plastic, acrylic with a metal wire that wraps around the front of the teeth, or a metal bar that is fixed to the back side of your teeth. Dr. Lyons will determine which one is right for each individual patient, and sometimes it is a combination of more than one type.

If you lose your retainer how long should you wait to call your Orthodontist?
Right away! It may sound funny, but your teeth have a really good memory. Well, not so much your teeth, as the ligaments that hold them in place. They are kind of like a rubber band. You can stretch them out, but when you let go, or in this case remove your retainer for too long, they will want to pull back to where they used to be. At NSO we recommend lifetime retainer were to avoid the need to go back into braces. So, it is very important to let us know if your retainer is lost or broken right away so we can make you a new one.

We want all of our patients to be successful with your at-home care. Although we love to see all of you, we hope that it won’t be because you need to start your orthodontic treatment over again. If your retainer is lost, broken, not fitting the way it used to, or you just have a question about how often you should wear it, call us! We are always here for you.