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Retainers – What to Expect

Hearing that you may need to wear a retainer may seem like a scary thing at first. But that’s probably because you are not all that familiar with what they are and what they do. Once you take the mystery out of retainers, it is clear to see that they are a simple device that helps to correct your bite, as well as sometimes address other conditions. And, they are nothing to be afraid of!
What They AreYou may have seen people wearing a retainer before, but they are not all that noticeable. A retainer is a small device that is made out of clear plastic, rubber, or even metal. They are custom-made so that they only fit your teeth. They are part of a treatment plan that has likely been determined by an orthodontist.
Using retainers to help align teeth is a common option. The length of time that someone has to wear them varies, but they are especially common following someone having their braces removed. During the process of wearing braces, the teeth have been moved into the desired position, but they are not yet settled into the gum and jaw. By using a retainer, it helps to further set your teeth in their new position. Teeth tend to shift, so the retainer can help keep them where they are supposed to be until they are settled in and will not shift out of place.
Reasons for WearingWearing a retainer after having braces removed is just one of the ways retainers are used. During this route, the retainer is typically worn each day for a period of six months, then the person will wear it to bed at night for a while. This effort just helps to ensure that the new tooth placement is retained.
There are other conditions that call for a retainer as part of corrective treatment as well. Some of those conditions include:

  • To close any gaps that may be in the bite.
  • To help correct speech problems or
  • A variety of medical conditions, including tongue thrust, where the tongue goes between the teeth when talking.
  • Retainers can also be used to address bruxism, which is the grinding of the teeth while sleeping.

There are a variety of conditions that may call for a treatment plan that requires a retainer. Working with an orthodontist is the best way to determine if one can help with a particular condition and how long one would have to be worn, as the time varies depending on the severity of the problem being treated.
For more tips on Braces and Invisalign, go to www.BurlesonOrthodontics.com
© 2011 Burleson Media Group. All right reserved.

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