You may be asking yourself: Can a retainer straighten my teeth? Will me teeth move back if I wear my retainer? How long will I need to wear my retainer for? Well, we have compiled the answers to these questions and more as well as some tips on how to best care for your retainers. Retainers help to prevent your teeth from shifting from their position after you have completed your teeth straightening treatment. Your teeth will naturally adjust from the forces applied to them from day-to-day activities like chewing and talking – this is where a retainer helps prevent this from happening. Retainers are a valuable and effective way to ensure you are getting the most out of the effort and investment you have put into previous teeth alignment treatments. … lets start with the basics.
What Is A Retainer?
Retainers are a piece of plastic (similar to clear aligners) that are custom-made for each individual. They are made to match the exact shape of your mouth and alignment of teeth. Retainers are most needed after teeth straightening treatment to ensure everything stays in place and giving the bone and ligament time to rebuild after your teeth have been moved. They also help to maintain the new positions of teeth after teeth straightening treatment has been completed. Generally, retainers are removeable however, there are different types of retainers to look out for.
Removable: These types of retainers can be taken out whenever needed. They can be wire (wire and plastic material) or clear retainers (transparent trays made of a plastic-like material)
Fixed: These are made of a thin, custom-fitted wire that is attached to the inner, tongue side of an individuals upper and lower teeth
What Are Retainers For?
Retainers are made to be worn to keep your teeth in place after treatment. This gives your bones and ligaments time to rebuild without shifting the progress you’ve made over the teeth straightening journey. In some cases, retainers may need to be worn for several months full time before slowly reducing to wearing nightly only. Individuals are different, some teeth settle very quickly whilst others take longer. Retainers are used for many treatments, not just aligning teeth. Some people suffer from tongue thrust (a condition where your tongue slides through your teeth when you are trying to talk). Some retainers are specifically designed to train your tongue from not sliding through. Another use for retainers is to stop and individual from grinding their teeth.
Is A Retainer for Teeth Straightening?
The question you may be thinking: ‘is a retainer for teeth straightening?’ Short answer is no. They don’t apply the steady force to shift your teeth over time to make major changes. They simply hold your teeth in place after the teeth straightening process you undertake. In saying this, they can help make minor adjustments to the position of your teeth. To ensure you are getting the most out of your retainers it is important that you wear them for the time recommended by your professional contact. Retainers are a valuable way to protect the investment of money, time and effort you have previously put in to straightening your teeth and will ensure your teeth remain as straight and intact as when you finished your course of treatment.
Can Retainers Correct Teeth?
As stated above, in theory it may be possible for retainers to correct a slight shift in teeth movement – but no major changes. Retainers are occasionally used without braces to straighten teeth to fix a single tooth or help remove a small gap between two teeth. In order for retainers to work to their full potential they must fit perfectly as they did when you finished your initial teeth straightening process.
If you have neglected your retainer for a few weeks or months make sure you try your retainer on to see if it still fits snug. If so, this may help undo any slight shifting that has happened since you’ve past worn it if no new bone tissue has grown. So the answer to ‘can retainers correct teeth’ is yes, depending on the complexity of the case. It is however vital to e diligent in wearing retainers to prevent teeth from relapse. It is also important for retainers to be fresh, old worn retainers can stretch and not be as effective in maintaining your teeth.
How Can a Retainer Straighten My Teeth?
So how can a retainer straighten my teeth? Do they? Retainers are made to leave no ‘wiggle’ room that may allow for moving and shifting of teeth after your teeth straightening process. After you complete your process, your bones and ligaments might require some extra time to adapt to the new shape and feel of your mouth, they will need something to keep everything stable and secure. It cannot be promised that a retainer will do any help in ‘straightening’ your teeth however it will help to ensure your teeth remain aligned and the same as they were once you finished your treatment. It is crucial to follow the guidance and advice of a professional when wearing your retainer to get optimal results.
Retainer Wear and Care
It is crucial that you care for your retainers to keep them hygienic, healthy and at peak performance when wearing. As a retainer sits in your mouth for long periods of time, food and plaque build-up is expected – therefore it is essential that your retainers are cleaned regularly. We have put together some ‘care tips’ for you to follow when looking after your retainers:
- Give your retainer a thorough clean at least once a day. Tip: avoid using toothpaste when cleaning your retainer as it may be too abrasive. Instead try using a specifically designed aligner and retainer cleaner.
- Avoid using hot water or coming into contact with high temperatures as this can result in the retainers warping and shifting in shape.
- Soak the retainer in an anti-bacterial solution weekly to maintain its hygiene and kill bacteria. Tip: if you have run out of anti-bacterial solution, try using mouthwash as a replacement as it is designed to combat plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Alternatively there are specifically designed foam cleansers available for this purpose.
How Long Will I Have to Wear My Retainer For?
It is so important that you follow the advice given to you about wearing your retainers. These instructions will vary according to your specific needs and individual treatment plans. Some people may need to wear their retainer all day for months, whereas other will be instructed to wear theirs for a year or longer. Until your teeth roots and ligaments have fully settled to hold your teeth in their new position, it is vital to continue to wear full time. Once you take them out and do not notice movement then you can slowly reduce to wearing at night time only.
We know wearing a retainer is the last thing you want to do after finishing your teeth straightening process, however it is super important to remain diligent with it to preserve the investment you have already put in.
Straighten Your Teeth with EZ SMILE
We’ve mentioned ‘what a retainer is’ and ‘why you need one’ but one of the companies that provides these for you after going through treatment with you is EZ SMILE.
EZ SMILE launched in 2017 and was the first Aussie owned teeth direct to consumer straightening company available in the Australian market. EZ SMILE allows customers to achieve the smile of their dreams from home with treatment lengths averaging 4-8 months – much faster than traditional braces!
EZ SMILE’s clear aligners are custom made from BPA-free plastic resulting in high quality aligners designed for results. With EZ SMILE, your clear aligners are delivered direct to you 5 sets at a time to make sure there’s no waiting time for your next set!
Not to mention, EZ SMILE clear aligners are 70%^ cheaper than traditional methods! Purchase your aligners for just $2,149 which includes your first set of retainers.
The locally-based EZ SMILE customer support team is always available to answer any questions about your treatment. Let’s get started! Take our FREE 30 second assessment to find out if EZ SMILE is right for you.
Aligner and retainer cleaner: https://www.ezsmile.com.au/product/shine-foam/
Take our FREE 30 second assessment: https://app.ezsmile.com.au/am-i-candidate-step1