Under the right circumstances, orthodontic services can improve the beauty and functionality of your teeth’s arrangement for the rest of your life. Maybe that is why people spend more than $12 billion on orthodontists in the United States every single year! The orthodontic industry in the United States employs more than 83,000 employees to provide for all of this demand.
Of course, the amount of money spent on orthodontic services each year might be a little bit lower if more people appreciated the importance of orthodontic retention. Orthodontic retention is all about helping people keep their mouths in great shape once orthodontic treatment has corrected the alignment of their teeth.
You can achieve great orthodontic retention by wearing your retainer on as consistent a basis as possible. It is unfortunate that some people do not wear their retainer according to the advice of orthodontists. This can lead their teeth to return to a less ideal alignment, requiring more treatment later on.
Read on to learn all about the most important things to understand about how a retainer can help you with orthodontic retention!
Why Is Wearing a Retainer So Important?
Many people do not appreciate how flexible and malleable the mouth can be. After all, it does not move on the timeline of minutes or hours. However, with the careful application of guided force, you can push the alignment of your teeth into an ideal shape.
That is how orthodontic treatment works. The same basic principle applies to retainers after orthodontic treatment is finished. A retainer will maintain a rigid shape around your aligned teeth.
Any time your teeth attempt to shift in their position, they will bump up against the walls of the retainer. The resisting force of the retainer will then keep your teeth from returning to an older form of alignment.
The Benefits of Post-treatment for Braces
This provides a few benefits. First of all, you will not undo all of the difficult work of improving the alignment of your teeth. There is little point in spending all of that time and money on orthodontic treatment if you are not going to maintain it for longer than a year or so.
And without using your retainer, you may find that your teeth return to their original position after only a year of neglect. Retainers also provide other benefits at the same time.
For example, it is common for people to grind their teeth when they are feeling stressed. Some people even grind their teeth at night. Because they are not awake while they are grinding their teeth, they do not know that they are doing it.
Over time, the grinding of the teeth can wear down the enamel on them. That can leave your teeth more susceptible to cavities and other kinds of damage.
Under the wrong circumstances, grinding your teeth can even cause you to break off little pieces of them. Retainers will help you maintain the new alignment of your teeth while also protecting you from the damage that can come from grinding your teeth.
Some people are so tired of orthodontic treatment that they want to be able to enjoy their smile. However, retainers can be designed to be as transparent and subtle as possible. That can allow you to enjoy a beautiful smile in the short term as well as in the long term.
Why Do Some People Ignore Orthodontist Advice?
Some people find that their retainer is uncomfortable to wear. When you first start wearing a retainer, it can feel tight. After wearing it for several hours, you might even feel a general ache in your jaw.
However, the sensations should be familiar. They are similar to the sensations of your teeth moving toward ideal alignment during orthodontic treatment. Because a retainer works on some of the same principles as orthodontic treatment, it can generate some of the same discomfort.
However, just as with orthodontic treatment, this discomfort will calm down after a few days. At some point, your teeth will stop trying to move back to a worse alignment. They will settle into place and stop pressing against your retainer.
At that point, your discomfort will relax and your retainer will not feel as tight.
Other people lose their retainer and then do not prioritize getting a new one. They may feel more comfortable in the short term and enjoy their smile, so they put off speaking with their orthodontist. However, this can have serious consequences.
If you wait too long to get a new retainer, then a retainer in the same shape as your lost retainer will no longer work for your teeth. You will have to receive further orthodontic treatment and then start over again with a new retainer.
Taking Care of Your Retainer
Part of the guide to wearing a retainer involves knowing how to keep your retainer clean. Without proper maintenance, your retainer can be the perfect place for bacteria to build up over time.
You should think about taking care of your retainer the same way you think about taking care of your teeth. They need the same kind of treatment to avoid becoming full of plaque or other contaminants. You can use your toothbrush and toothpaste to clean both your teeth and your retainer.
You should also remember that you need to use lukewarm water to wash your retainer. Otherwise, hot or cold water could affect the shape of your retainer.
Understand the Most Important Principles of Orthodontic Retention
The more that you understand about orthodontic retention, the better the chance is that you will appreciate how much value wearing your retainer can provide. If orthodontists could get away with not recommending that their patients wear retainers, they probably would. The fact that they continue to urge patients to wear retainers after treatment is a strong indicator of how important it is.
To learn more about how to take care of your mouth during and after treatment, reach out and get in touch with us here!