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Will I Have to Wear a Retainer After Clear Aligners?
There are benefits to wearing clear aligners that patients with braces will not experience. It should not be a surprise that aligners are becoming more common for teens and adults. People with alignment issues find success with this method. Once you complete your treatment, you should be prepared to continue wearing other mouth appliances.
Various reasons to get clear aligners
Many people do not have the good fortune of having a mouthful of straight, properly shaped teeth. It is common for people of all ages to deal with an assortment of oral challenges. These can hinder the person’s smile and health. Aligners not only straighten teeth but also correct overbites, underbites and crossbites. It can also help with jaw misalignments, abnormally small or large teeth, or worn and misshapen teeth.
How aligners work
Clear aligners are plastic mouthpieces that the dentist customizes to fit in the patient’s mouth. The patient will get a new aligner every two to four weeks. The aligners put pressure on the teeth, changing the bone structure of the jaw and forcing the teeth into different positions in the mouth. This movement happens slowly but consistently. Some patients can have straight teeth in as few as six months. In many cases, aligners offer a faster treatment than traditional metal braces.
How retainers work
Retainers are fixed or removable appliances. The dentist places the retainer in the patient’s mouth after completing treatment with clear aligners. The retainer maintains the positioning of the teeth, so they do not drift back to their original spots. It is important to wear a retainer while the bones and gums get accustomed to the changes in the person’s mouth.
Wearing the retainer
The patient will have to wear the retainer throughout the day for the first six months after finishing treatment with clear aligners. Failure to do so could lead to unwanted tooth movement. After this time frame, the patient can usually wear the retainer during the night only. Patients can remove the retainer while eating but should replace it as quickly afterward as possible.
Care and maintenance
Just like patients should be careful about how they treat clear aligners, retainers require focused care as well. Wearers should rinse them off throughout the day and should brush them at least twice daily. Ignoring this practice can damage the appliance and reduce its effectiveness. Retainers are made of plastic and include a wire that goes over the teeth. The plastic part can break if dropped or if it suffers a heavy blow.
Care for your teeth after your treatment
Even after you finish your treatment with clear aligners, you have more work to do for your teeth. To maintain your straight, beautiful smile, make sure you wear your retainer as your dentist directs. The duration of this after-treatment will vary depending on your needs. Be diligent about following your dentist’s directions. Then, you can enjoy the aesthetic appeal of your smile throughout your life.
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