Retainers are a classic staple of orthodontia. You may have seen somebody take a retainer out of their mouth before they eat or put one in before they go to bed. What exactly is the retainer, and what does it do? Should you wear one after you have braces? There is a lot to learn about such a simple piece of dental equipment.
What Exactly Is a Retainer?
A retainer is a piece of equipment made of metal and plastic that is customized for your teeth. The top of the retainer rests against the top of your mouth. The goal of the equipment is to keep your teeth in place after they have been shifted with the help of braces. Retainers can help close tooth gaps and even help people who need some assistance with speech issues.
Should You Wear Your Retainer?
If your orthodontist has given you a retainer, it is important that you wear it. You certainly don't want to negate all the work that your braces performed for you. Your teeth will continue to shift, and the retainer keeps the teeth in their proper place. Your orthodontist will tell you when you should be wearing your retainer, so make sure you abide by these suggestions, which might include wearing your retainer constantly or only when you are sleeping.
Does Wearing a Retainer Hurt?
Retainers may cause your teeth to experience a small amount of pressure. You might feel sore sometimes, but likely not as sore as you felt when you experienced the first days of wearing your braces. You might find that it feels strange at first, but it is really no big deal over time.
How Do You Get a Retainer?
Your orthodontist will create a retainer for you. The process involves making a mold of your mouth, which is pain-free and does not last long at all. Some retainers even have different colors and styles that you can choose from.
How Can You Take Care of Your Retainer?
The process of caring for your retainer involves daily cleaning to eliminate bacteria and plaque. Much like your teeth and your braces, your retainer needs a little TLC each day. Your orthodontist will provide you with more information about cleaning your specific retainer as well as what you need to know about daily use and wear. If you have questions, it is a good idea to speak with your orthodontist about your needs.