It is, without doubt, sad to hear that even after 2 years of painful and disturbing use of braces you need to wear retainers to keep your teeth aligned. But you certainly do not want to waste the precious money that you spent on your orthodontist braces treatment. No matter how unfortunate it might seem, it is absolutely necessary to wear retainers if you do not wish to endure the same agonizing procedure again to get the perfect set of teeth you always wanted.
What are retainers?
Retainers are appliances that need to be worn continuously for another couple of months after the braces come off. These are meant to keep the teeth from sliding back into their previous position after braces that were holding them in place are removed.
Why are retainers necessary?
In the human jaw, the teeth are attached to the gums firmly and held in place with the help of fibers and ligaments that keep there. Dental appliances like braces make these fibers loose by trying to move the teeth from their place. The fibers are under great pressure and have become loose but that does not mean that they cannot quickly return to their original state if given the leverage. Once the braces are removed and the force pulling at the fibers is no longer there, the teeth can quickly snap back to their previous position. For up to 18 months after the braces come off, this is likely and to prevent this from happening, you need to wear retainers.
It is more important for an adult than a teenager to wear retainers regularly because the adult jaw and gum structure is fully developed and more resistant to change than that of younger patients. Adult jaws are stronger than those of children.
Caring for retainers
You need to wear your retainers regularly and in order to do that hygienically and safely, it is essential to take good care of them. Retainers can be a hassle but if you do not take good care you could end up with cavities or gum infections.
In order to protect your teeth against gum infection, plaque and cavities, you need to floss between the wires of the permanent retainers regularly. Other than that, you do not need to make much of an effort to protect your teeth and retainers.
Removable retainers, as suggested by the name, can be removed. These are removed before eating, drinking or brushing. To keep these clean and safe, you should brush them once in a while with your toothbrush and toothpaste, but you need to wash them regularly with lukewarm water.
In short, retainers are an absolute necessity after braces are removed. Your teeth are not permanently fixed in the new aligned position even after years of using braces, and they have a tendency to assume their original position again. If you do not want the money you spent on braces to go down the drain, you need to make sure to wear retainers as often as possible for the next several months.