The thrill of getting your braces off after a course of orthodontic treatment is cause for celebration, but it doesn’t mean that your treatment is over. The next stage of treatment is wearing a retainer so that your teeth won’t shift back to their previous positions.
It is just as important to follow through with this phase of treatment as it is for you to see your orthodontist as directed during so-called active treatment, as there is a significant risk of relapse if you don’t wear your retainer.
Purpose Of An Orthodontic Retainer
Although orthodontic treatment does successfully reposition your teeth, those results can easily be undone if the teeth begin to shift back to their original positions. Wearing your retainer reinforces the new positioning of the teeth and prevents potential relapse.
Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions of how to wear your retainer. Typically, patients are directed to wear their retainers all day for a period of time. Eventually, you will be given the go-ahead to only wear your retainer while you sleep.
Because the risk of relapse is present for at least several years after your braces come off, you should plan to wear your retainer as directed for at least that amount of time.
Consequences Of Not Wearing A Retainer
When patients don’t wear their retainers as directed after orthodontic treatment and experience a relapse, significant consequences result. This can cause all of the same problems as the original misalignment did, such as:
- Unsightly smile
- Damage to the teeth
- Greater difficulty in keeping the teeth clean
- Compromised chewing function
- Increased risk of injury to the soft oral tissues
Ultimately, if you don’t wear your retainer, you may eventually need to go through another round of wearing braces, which will require an additional investment of your time and energy. Furthermore, insurance is unlikely to cover a second round of braces.
If you anticipate any obstacles to wearing your retainer as directed, work with your orthodontist to develop a plan to overcome those obstacles. It is truly essential to the long-term success of your treatment.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Fleming Orthodontics today.