Ismile Orthodonics

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How does a retainer work?

A retainer is used to maintain the results of orthodontic treatment by retaining the proper position of the teeth.

If you have decided to go ahead with orthodontic treatment in the form of braces, you can expect a healthier, straighter and more beautiful smile once the process is complete. Although braces effectively shift the teeth into better positions over time, the reality, however, is that the teeth can move again even after orthodontic treatment. For this reason, it is usually advisable that you wear an appliance known as a retainer after you have had your braces removed — these appliances help to maintain the results of your treatment and ensure that your smile stays straight in the long-term.

What is a retainer?

Retainers are orthodontic appliances that are worn after braces have been removed. Their function is to keep the teeth properly aligned and prevent them from shifting out of place after treatment in the form of braces.

There are a number of different types of retainers — some are removable, while some are fixed to the teeth. A traditional retainer, known as a Hawley retainer, is made from plastic and fabricated to fit the mouth comfortably. It involves the use of a wire, which fits along the outside of the teeth, keeping them in position.

Clear retainers are another option, and are a popular choice because they are very discreet. Made from clear plastic, these retainers are custom-made to fit the teeth comfortably and securely.

Bonded retainers, on the other hand, comprise a wire that fits along the back of the teeth. This type of retainer is permanently fixed to the teeth for long-term retention.

Why are retainers used?

Your jaw plays an important role in allowing you to chew and bite properly. When you perform these actions, a force is exerted into your jawbone through your teeth. This force sends signals to the cells that are responsible for building bone. When your teeth have been realigned by means of orthodontic treatment, this process of building and reinforcing bone allows your teeth to settle into their new positions. Your retainer, on the other hand, functions by holding your teeth in these new positions. If you do not wear a retainer, your teeth are likely to shift back into their original positions gradually over time.

How long do you need to wear a retainer?

Each patient is different, so if your orthodontist has recommended that you wear a retainer, it is very important that you do so and that you adhere to their instructions regarding your particular needs. Your orthodontist may recommend that you wear your retainer all day and night for the first three months or so following orthodontic treatment, while it is sometimes fine to wear a retainer at night only.

If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to raise them with your orthodontist. Similarly, if your retainer feels uncomfortable or causes you any pain, be sure to let your orthodontist know as soon as possible.

How can we help?

At iSmile Orthodontics, we offer a range of orthodontic appliances that can be used either independently or in conjunction with braces to help achieve a healthy, straight smile. We can provide our patients with either removable or fixed retainers, depending on their specific needs.

Once your treatment with braces is complete, we will let you know what kind of retainer is best for you. We will let you know how to take care of your retainer, as well as how long you need to wear it for. It is very important that you wear your retainer as directed as this will help to maintain the results of your treatment and prevent relapse.

To find out more about the retainers that we offer, as well as the other orthodontic appliances that are available at iSmile Orthodontics, please have a look here.

To find out more about the full range of services that we offer, please have a look here.

If you would like to arrange a consultation with us, please give us a call on 03 9466 8484 or get in touch with us here.

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