Unlocking the Mystery of Retainers: The Top FAQ’s Answered
After wearing braces for months or even years, the last thing anyone wants is for their teeth to shift back to their original position. Fortunately, retainers are the solution to this problem. Retainers help maintain the alignment of your teeth and prevent them from returning to their previous position. However, retainers come with many questions and doubts. In this blog post, we will answer the top FAQ’s related to retainers to help you understand them better.
What are Retainers?
Retainers are orthodontic appliances that are custom-made to fit your teeth and mouth. They are designed to maintain the position of your teeth after you have finished your orthodontic treatment. You can choose from two types of retainers – fixed retainers or removable retainers.
What is the Purpose of Retainers?
Retainers are used to maintain the alignment of your teeth after you have completed your orthodontic treatment. Your teeth are more likely to shift back to their previous position once your braces are removed, and your bones and gums take time to adjust to the new position of your teeth. The retainers assist the teeth in stabilizing in the right position.
How Long Do You Need to Wear Retainers?
It is recommended that you wear your retainers full time for the first few months after your orthodontic treatment. After this period, you can switch to wearing them just at night. The duration for which you need to wear your retainer depends on your orthodontic treatment’s severity. In general, orthodontists suggest that you wear your retainers for at least one year and then wear them at night, every night, indefinitely.
Fixed Retainers – Pros and Cons
Fixed retainers are cemented onto the teeth. They are a popular option for those who do not want to worry about removing and cleaning their retainers. The benefits of having fixed retainers include:
– They are not visible on the outside
– You do not have to remember to wear them every night
However, fixed retainers have some disadvantages:
– It can be harder to floss and clean your teeth
– They can become loose, and replacement may require multiple visits to the orthodontist.
Removable Retainers – Pros and Cons
Removable retainers are more popular among those who do not want anything fixed to their teeth. The benefits of wearing removable retainers include:
– Easy to remove when eating or brushing teeth
– No difficulty while flossing teeth
However, removable retainers have some disadvantages:
– You need to remember to wear them as required
– They need to be replaced often and can be lost if not careful
How to Take Care of Retainers?
Cleaning your retainers is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Just like your teeth, retainers can attract plaque and bacteria if not cleaned properly. Here are some tips for taking care of your retainers:
– Brush your retainers regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water
– Soak your retainers regularly in a solution of warm water and retainer cleaner, which you can get from your orthodontist
– Always store your retainers in their case when not in use
Can You Eat and Drink with Retainers?
You should remove your retainers before eating or drinking as they can become damaged or stained. In addition, you should avoid consuming certain foods like hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can damage or break your retainers.
What if You Lose or Damage Your Retainers?
If you lose or damage your retainer, contact your orthodontist immediately. They can either repair or replace your retainers, but it important to follow all the instructions to avoid any extra fees.
How to Properly Store Your Retainers?
When you are not wearing your retainers, you should store them properly to avoid damage or loss. Store your retainer in a protective case at all times when they are not in your mouth to keep them clean and safe.
In conclusion, retainers are instrumental in maintaining your teeth’s alignment after orthodontic treatment. There are two types of retainers available – fixed and removable – that have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to take care of your retainers properly and follow your orthodontist’s instructions, which can help them last longer.
1. How Many Hours a Day Should I Wear My Retainers?
It is recommended to wear your retainers for a minimum of 20-22 hours a day for the initial few months after your treatment. After that period, you can wear them at night while sleeping.
2. Will Wearing Retainers Be Uncomfortable?
At first, it is common for people to experience slight discomfort while wearing retainers, but this usually goes away after a few days of use.
3. Can I Drink Water with Retainers on?
Yes, it is okay to drink water while wearing your retainers. However, it is advised to remove them before drinking any other beverage.
4. Can I Play Sports While Wearing My Retainers?
It is not recommended to wear your retainers while playing sports as they can fall out or hurt the inside of your mouth.
5. How Often Should I Replace My Retainers?
As per dental experts, you should replace your retainers every 6 to 12 months. However, it is important to consult with your orthodontist to determine when and if a replacement is necessary.