For many people who have just had their braces removed, a retainer is the best option to maintain this improved smile going forward. Some retainers are temporary and removable, while others may be fused to the back of your teeth. This article will explore the ins and outs of the different types of dental retainers.
When Do You Need a Retainer?
Retainers are often used either in lieu of or in conjunction with dental braces. While braces guide the teeth into new locations, retainers maintain them in these positions and prevent them from drifting back to where they were before.
In other cases, orthodontic issues might not require you to wear a full set of braces—instead, a retainer may be all that's needed to correct any problems. Because retainers are usually more discreet than braces, they can be a good way to subtly straighten one's teeth.
Dental Retainer Timeline
If your orthodontist recommends that you get a dental retainer, you'll likely be fitted at your next appointment. During your fitting, the orthodontist may take a three-dimensional mold of your teeth to see how the retainer should fit. Once your retainer has been fitted and your orthodontist is happy with it, you'll be scheduled for regular checkups.
In most cases, your orthodontist will invite you back once per month for the first few months. You'll then have checkups at the six, 12, and 24-month marks to see whether the retainer is working well and if it should be adjusted or removed. In most cases, there's no need to wear a temporary retainer past the 24-month mark.