How long do I have to wear a retainer for?
Following on from any type of orthodontic (teeth straightening) treatment on adults, the teeth need to be “fixed” in their new positions. This is done by wearing a Retainer.
If retainers are not worn then there is a tendency for the teeth to move out of the corrected positions into unpredictable positions. When this happens we say that the treatment has “relapsed’.
Teeth can relapse to varying degrees, so some people may find their teeth take years to move out of place and others notice changes within the first year of treatment.
Treatment on adult teeth is more likely to relapse than treatment carried out in a growing child. In order to prevent any extent of relapse in adults, we usually recommend that they wear a Retainer. Straighten my teeth.
There are two types of retainers:
- Removable Retainers. These can be removed from your mouth to eat and clean your teeth.
- Fixed Retainers. These are bonded directly to the backs of your front teeth securing them in place.
Adult teeth have a tendency to go back to their original positions. This is because the bone, facial muscles like the cheek and tongue have all got used to a certain amount of space to occupy in the mouth.
So when teeth are moved into a new position your body responds by placing pressure on the teeth to recapture its original space.
There is a higher tendency for adult teeth to relapse when compared to children’s teeth. In a child’s mouth their jaws, teeth and muscles are still growing. So any movement of teeth into new positions is just taken as part of the dynamic growing process.
The muscles and tongue then get used to this position of the teeth and so maintain this new position.
Should an adult wear a retainer after their orthodontic treatment?
Most adults are advised to wear retainers after the orthodontic treatment. This is because adult teeth are susceptible to relapse. If no retainers are worn then your teeth can go back to the way they were or change for the worse.
After having undergone treatment for several months and paid for the treatment most adults prefer not to have any relapse of their treatment.
How long you have to wear retainers for will be dependent upon which type of retainers you are advised. Usually, Fixed Retainers are worn for life. However, Removable Retainers may also be advised in those cases showing a high degree of relapse susceptibility.
These removable retainers are generally only worn during the night and perhaps for a year. It is important to note that each case is unique and different, therefore the dentist will advise you according to your situation.
Retainers are very comfortable and most patients do not seem to have any problems with them. They simply provide the peace of mind that the aligned teeth will remain straight. Can you get braces on the NHS when over 18?
We take great pride in the orthodontic treatments we carry out. By booking a free consultation, you can visit us at our Hertfordshire or London consultancy rooms. Call us on 01992 552115 for more information today.