In the past, we’ve talked about topics like braces, bridges, crowns, and Invisalign (feel free to catch up with some links to past blog posts)
- The Major Difference Between Dental Implants and Dental Bridges
- When You Need a Dental Crown
- What’s the Difference Between Invisalign and Traditional Braces
- So, Do You Really Need Braces?
…but what about retainers?
What a Retainer Does
Put simply, a retainer is a relatively simple piece of plastic and metal that’s been custom-made for the patient (child or adult!) that needs it. No two are alike – and they fit the top teeth and hard palate.
Typically, most people that wear braces and have recently gotten them off have to wear a retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their new position. This is because teeth continue to shift as the mouth grows. In these cases, for example, a child might only need to wear a retainer for 3 months or so. In other cases, a child might only need to wear the retainer at night (but perhaps for a year instead). A retainer might also be used in a similar way to help close a specific gap in the teeth.
In other cases, a retainer might be needed to help with a specific medical problem. Tongue thrust, a condition where your tongue pokes through your teeth when you talk, is often one of them. This trains your tongue to go towards the roof of your mouth instead – and is usually only needed for children.
Yet another reason for retainers is to help correct TMD – temporomandibular disorder. Typically this results from a bite problem or jaw disorder. In this case – a retainer might help prevent your teeth from lining up in a way that allows them to grind at night, which helps prevent other issues like cracks, erosion, sensitivity, and more.
It takes some time and effort
Fitting you for a retainer is easy. Getting used to it and caring for your retainer take a little bit of time, but they are both also very easy.
Most of all, you really don’t want to lose your retainer. Why? Remember when we talked about them being custom-made? That’s right. They’re not cheap.
Also, do make sure you follow your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning your retainer. You don’t want to be putting more bacteria in your mouth when you use a dental device designed to help your teeth instead.
Have a question?
If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area – our dentists in Garden Grove are here to help you. All it takes is a call!