Orthodontic Specialist in Whitestone, NY Answers – Are Retainers Necessary?
After undergoing months and sometimes even years of orthodontic treatment, it is perfectly understandable that many patients aren’t thrilled at the prospect of wearing a retainer afterward. Yet, orthodontic retainers are an integral part of treatment. At Avenue Orthodontics, our orthodontic specialist in Whitestone, NY discusses the role that retainers play in the treatment process during your initial consultation so that you know precisely what to expect before committing to an orthodontic plan. Retainers are necessary whether you elect to undergo treatment with Invisalign®, lingual braces, clear braces, or conventional metal braces.
We invite you to read the following information about orthodontic retainers and then contact Avenue Orthodontics for further information or to schedule your complimentary initial consultation with one of our esteemed orthodontists.
Why Are Retainers Necessary?
Over time, everyone’s teeth move. This isn’t true only of people who have undergone orthodontic treatment, but of every single person. The movement may be subtle, but it definitely occurs. In people who undergo orthodontic treatment, however, the teeth have a tendency to move back toward their original, pre-treatment positions, especially during the initial year or so after treatment. This tendency is known as orthodontic relapse. While the teeth might not return fully to their pre-treatment positions in the mouth, they can certainly shift to the extent that retreatment may become necessary.
And therein lies one of the most important benefits of wearing a retainer precisely as instructed by our orthodontists after your treatment. You will have invested a lot of time, money, and energy in the realignment of your teeth, and the risk of relapse will be extremely high if you do not commit fully to the retention stage of your treatment. Not only will you experience the same oral health issues that drove you to seek our help in the first place, but you will also have to reinvest your time, money, and energy all over again.
How Long Will You Have to Wear a Retainer?
There was once a rule of thumb among orthodontists that patients should wear their retainers for as long as they wore their braces, and at that point, they would be more or less in the clear. Fortunately, we understand the science of how teeth move much better now. The only way to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment is to accept that retainers will be a permanent part of your life.
Does this mean that you will have to wear retainers at all times forever? Not at all. The timeline will vary from patient to patient, but your schedule will proceed something like this:
- You will wear your retainer full-time, removing it only to eat, brush, floss, and as otherwise advised, for a period recommended by our orthodontists. This period may be several months, a year, or longer.
- At this point, you will wear your retainer overnight as you sleep only. You must wear it every night for a period recommended by our orthodontists.
- Once this period expires, you will begin to wear your retainer every other night for a recommended period. After this period expires, you will gradually reduce the number of times you wear your retainer to one or two nights per week.
It is important that you pay close attention to how your retainer feels in your mouth as you reduce the frequency with which you wear it. If it starts to feel as though it is not fitting correctly, then your teeth are probably beginning to shift out of their optimal positions, and you should probably start wearing it more frequently again.
Whatever you do, please do not stop wearing your retainer for any prolonged length of time. It is not at all unusual for people who wore braces in their teens to return to the orthodontist’s office in their thirties or forties because they stopped wearing their retainers in early adulthood.
Reach Out to Our Orthodontic Specialist in Whitestone, NY Today
Drs. Eleni, Abraham, and Grauer welcome the opportunity to speak with you about the orthodontic treatment process, from preparation to retention, in person during a complimentary consultation at our state-of-the-art office. We invite you to learn more about orthodontic retainers by scheduling your consultation today. We proudly serve patients from Bayside, Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, and the surrounding communities.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other orthodontic-related topics, feel free to contact Avenue Orthodontics by clicking here or by calling 516-484-0234 to reach our Roslyn office or 718-767-8400 to reach our Whitestone office.