How Long Do I Have to Wear a Retainer?
Before we can even begin to give you an idea of how long you will need to wear your retainer you need to understand why you are wearing one to begin with. The orthodontic retainer is the final step after having worn orthodontic braces. You have just worn braces for possibly 18 months to two years to correct your teeth. Finally, they are removed. But the periodontal ligaments and fibers that stretch between the tooth and the jaw have got to be trained, relaxed and adjusted to their new position as well. The retainer holds your teeth in their new position giving these fibers and tissues to make their adjustments.
Why do I even Need Braces?
Most often your teeth have come in crooked due to simple genetics or abnormal eruption of the permanent teeth. You may have an overbite or an underbite, crowding of the teeth due to the amount of space available in your mouth or issues with your jaw. Crooked teeth dramatically affect the perception of a healthy smile.
The Different Types of Orthodontic Braces Available
The traditional set of braces feature metal brackets and metal arch wire on the outside of the teeth. Technology has brought to us ceramic brackets and ceramic arch wires, harder to see since they are either tooth colored or clear. You can move the brackets and the wires to the inside of the teeth as well. Finally, digital technology has delivered a unique system where a set of clear, mouth guard like trays are worn and changed out every two weeks, applying the pressure necessary to move the teeth.
The Different Types of Retainers
Much like the braces, the retainers can be of the fixed variety so they are mounted to several teeth and you cannot remove the retainer, or a retainer that is removable such that you can clean it and take if out for special occasions.
The Time Range you can Expect to Wear your Retainer
You can expect to initially wear your retainer from 12 to 22 hours a day for three to six months. After this period, you can then expect to wear your retainer, if removable, for overnight hours for the next six months. After you have fulfilled a year you will be strongly advised to wear your retainer overnight three to five time a week for the rest of your life. Quite simply, biology has the upper hand. Bone must grow around the new tooth position and your teeth will also change with the aging process. Your retainer will have a life expectancy of two to 10 years. If you want to reward yourself and maintain the healthy smile achieved through your orthodontic efforts regular examinations will encourage your continued efforts. A healthy smile is the foundation for your personality, affecting your self-esteem and your self-confidence. Your smile plays a big role in your personal, social and professional endeavors. If you have endured the correction of the braces, follow instructions in wearing the retainer and enjoy your new smile.
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