Over the course of your routine adjustments the braces fitted on your teeth by West Cobb Orthodontics have gradually realigned your teeth for a more appealing smile and a healthier mouth. Once you’ve reached your ideal alignment your braces can be removed. However, the retention process is still the final step in making sure your teeth stay in their ideal alignment for years to come.
After your braces are removed there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth in place. Without wearing a retainer, this residual tension can slowly start to pull your teeth back towards their previous misalignment. This process is called relapse.
Wearing a retainer helps to hold your teeth in their new alignment while the periodontal ligaments gradually adapt to their final alignment. In most cases you will need to use a retainer for about as long as you had braces. If you don’t wear your retainer during the prescribed times, or it is damaged, it might increase the amount of time you need to use it.
At West Cobb Orthodontics you can be fitted for a retainer during the same session where your braces are removed. The orthodontist might want to take few x-rays and take an impression or your bite pattern.
The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley-style retainer. This is a thin acrylic piece molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth and attaches to your teeth with wires.
When you first start wearing a retainer, your mouth might produce more saliva for a few days. This is natural and after a while your mouth will adapt and things will return to normal. You should expect to wear your retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.
If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about wearing a retainer, please feel free to call West Cobb Orthodontics at 678.401.4321 to schedule an appointment.