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So, you’ve just finished your orthodontic treatment?
While the most complex and most uncomfortable part of your orthodontic treatment process is over, you still need to ensure you’re following good orthodontic aftercare advice and caring for your new straighter smile.
Yes, that includes wearing a retainer each night to ensure your teeth don’t move back to where they were before you started treatment.
If that sounds like a hassle, then you’re not alone. One study in the UK found that two years post-treatment, about 20% of patients had stopped wearing their retainer. However, we can’t overstate the importance of wearing your retainer and other post-treatment care.
Here’s what you need to know about orthodontics aftercare and how to care for your new smile!
What Is Orthodontic Treatment?
Whether you’ve just finished your orthodontic treatments or are looking for information on the web about “orthodontic aftercare advice,” you likely have questions about what to expect during and after your treatment.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment is used to straighten teeth and improve the alignment of your bite. It can treat many dental problems, including overcrowding, spacing, and crooked teeth.
Orthodontists accomplish this by using braces; metal brackets fixed to your teeth (in some cases, they can be clear!). These brackets are connected by a wire that we tighten over time to move your teeth into the correct position gradually.
In some cases, you might opt for clear aligners instead of braces (also known as Invisalign). These clear plastic trays fit snugly over your teeth and are replaced every one to two weeks as your teeth slowly shift into place.
Overall, orthodontic treatment can take several months or, in severe cases, even years to complete.
However, if you care for your teeth properly afterwards, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for the rest of your life.
What to Expect After Orthodontic Treatments
Once those braces come off, you’ll be the proud owner of a brand-new smile. However, that doesn’t mean you must stop caring for your teeth.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly is essential to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.
You will also need to wear a retainer at night to keep your teeth from shifting back into their previous position. This will be discussed in detail at the appointment when your orthodontist takes your braces off.
Don’t worry, though; getting fitted for a retainer is simple. Your orthodontist will take a scan of your teeth and work with an orthodontic technician to create a custom-fit retainer. Once the retainer is ready, you will return to the orthodontist to have it fitted.
The process is quick and painless, and you will be able to leave the practice with your new retainer in place.
With proper care, your retainer will help keep your teeth in their new, straight position. This helps ensure you won’t have to have braces again.
Although you may still have some soreness and discomfort after completing your treatment, this should subside within a few days. With proper care, your new smile will last a lifetime! Be sure to book your annual check-up with your dentist, though.
Understanding Your Retainer Options
As retainers are essential to orthodontic treatment, it’s important to understand your options. In most cases, you have two options: fixed retainers or removable retainers.
Fixed retainers are orthodontic wires that are bonded to the back of the front teeth. They are usually used to prevent teeth from moving back into their original position after braces are removed.
They are custom-made to fit each patient’s mouth and are usually worn for life. Although they require extra care to keep clean, fixed retainers are an effective way to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
Not only that, but they’re an excellent option for those who are forgetful and think they’ll have trouble remembering to wear their retainers or misplace them frequently.
It’s important to note that, for certain people, fixed retainers can be challenging to clean and may require special flossing techniques. In addition, fixed retainers can very occasionally cause a change in eating or speaking.
As a result, they’re not suitable for everyone. Before choosing a retainer, discussing all options with your orthodontist is important.
Read our article – How to Clean Fixed and Removable Orthodontic Appliances
As the name suggests, removable retainers are retainers that you can remove whenever you need to. These retainers are usually made of clear plastic.
Removable retainers are usually worn for a few hours each day and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. While they may take some time to get used to, removable retainers are a relatively simple and effective way to keep teeth in their new position.
Like fixed retainers, it’s important to consult with your orthodontist regarding your best options. Likewise, they’ll be able to help you form a post-treatment plan. This includes how often you need to wear your retainers and for how long.
How Long Do You Have to Wear Your Retainer?
The length of time you wear your retainer will depend on how well your teeth were aligned before you got the retainer and how long you wore braces.
If your teeth are slightly crooked, you may only need to wear your retainer for a few months. However, if you have more severe misalignment, you may need to wear your retainer for several years. Sometimes, you may even need to wear your retainer for life.
The best way to find out how long you’ll need to wear your retainer is to consult with your orthodontist.
They will be able to give you a personalised estimate based on your individual situation.
Get a Free Smile Assessment
If you’re ready to start your orthodontic treatment journey, we’re here to help you understand what that treatment plan might look like.
We handle everything from the first consultation to helping you understand proper orthodontics aftercare.
Get started today by taking our complimentary 30-second smile assessment.
Request Your Complimentary Smile Evaluation
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