Braces are common among teenagers and adults as a way of correcting the alignment of teeth. Proper orthodontic care is an important part of maintaining your long-term dental health and correcting problems that affect other areas of your life. Although braces are a big focus for many people, retainers are just as important.
A retainer is a device that works just like a set of braces. It applies pressure to your teeth to change their alignment. However, retainers have two notable differences from braces and are commonly used right after braces. Here is what you need to know about retainers.
Retainers Keep Alignment Straight
Braces apply a large amount of pressure to your teeth to move them into correct alignment. One of the key differences between braces and retainers is that retainers are designed to apply just enough pressure to keep your teeth in place instead of moving them. This means that your retainer will apply less pressure to your teeth than your braces, which makes them more comfortable. It is important to wear a retainer since it gives your gums and teeth time to heal in place after they have been adjusted by your braces.
Removable vs. Fixed Retainers
Another key difference between braces and retainers is that they come in a removable or a fixed version. Most people use removable retainers, which closely resemble a mouthguard with a metal bar on the front. Removable retainers have the added benefit of avoiding damage caused by eating since you can remove them. However, removable retainers can be more difficult for younger children to manage since they have to be cared for outside of their mouths.
Alternatively, there are fixed retainers. It is, essentially, a metal wire that is attached to the backside of your teeth. It provides the same level of care but is easier to maintain since it stays inside your mouth. It is also smaller and less intrusive than a removable retainer, making it a better option for younger children.
Wear at Night
Removable retainers are usually worn as much as possible. That means that any time that you are not eating, having dental work done, or sleeping, the retainer should be properly placed inside your mouth. It is important to wear your retainer, especially at night since there are so many uninterrupted hours that you could have it in. The more you wear your retainer, the less likely it is that your teeth will shift out of position.
Wear Between Meals
It is also important to have your retainer in during the day. You cannot wear your retainer while you eat, since it will create a choking hazard. However, you should have it in when you are not eating. This will ensure that you get the most time with your retainer in place. Make sure that you brush your teeth and clean your retainer before putting it back in.
Cleaning your retainer is easy. You simply remove it and brush it like you brush your teeth or use a special cleaning solution. You do not need any special equipment to care for your retainer other than a clean container to place it in. Make sure that you clean your retainer every time you take it out before putting it in the case. You should also clean your case regularly to ensure that they do not cross-contaminate each other.
Learn More About Pediatric AND ADULT Orthodontics
If you see the need for braces and a retainer in your future, contact Tender Smiles 4 Kids for help. Our team has extensive experience helping people with their dental health needs, including braces and retainers. You can contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our four New Jersey locations including:
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