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Will I Need a Retainer After Braces?


When it comes to dental work, it is natural to have some questions. Although your dentist can create a comprehensive treatment plan for you and your smile, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Here’s what to know about braces and the long-term outcome after your teeth are straight!

The Importance of Braces

Braces work to create a beautiful and healthy smile. They are used to straighten crooked and overcrowded teeth, and can also help correct a misaligned jaw. Small metal brackets are applied to each tooth and held together by a wire. Depending on the position of your teeth, elastic bands can be placed around the brackets to help shift the teeth into the desired position.

Getting Braces: What To Expect

Every mouth is different, so the length of time that each person will wear braces will vary. Standard treatment times can range from 6 months to 3 years. Both adults and children (as young as 6 years old) can be candidates for braces.

When you first get braces, there are several lifestyle adjustments that you’ll need to make. First, your brushing process will be different. Brushing more frequently will help to reduce plaque buildup around your braces, keeping your teeth free of demineralized areas and keeping your gum tissue healthy. Flossing is extra important too. A floss threader will be needed to floss through the wires and remove food and bacteria. Using a Waterpik before brushing helps dislodge any food that may be stuck in the braces as well. Then, you’ll need to avoid certain foods. Hard foods, like nuts, crunchy vegetables, certain fruits, pretzels, and hard candy should be avoided. This is because the hard texture can break the brackets, wires, or bands. Sticky foods, such as chewing gum and chewy candy, can also damage the braces, if consumed.

Retainers After Braces

After your teeth have shifted according to your dentist’s treatment plan, there is some maintenance that will come with keeping your smile healthy. The most common method is wearing a retainer to help you maintain the shape of your newly corrected teeth. Retainers hold teeth in their new position and help to prevent them from shifting. There are several kinds of retainers: bonded retainers, Hawley retainers, and clear plastic retainers. Bonded retainers are attached to your teeth and cannot be removed. Since they cannot be removed without the aid of an orthodontist, they are worn at all times. Hawley retainers, also known as wire retainers, can be taken out when you’re eating or brushing your teeth. Clear plastic retainers are see-through molds that can be removed when you are eating or brushing your teeth. Removable retainers should be worn during the daytime for as long as your orthodontist prescribes and then at night, indefinitely. Your orthodontist will recommend further instructions on how to wear a retainer after you get your braces off.

Schedule an Appointment

The best way to learn more about braces and how you can transform your smile is by meeting with our dental team. To get started, we invite you to contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.

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