How Do Retainers Work?

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A retainer was designed to do what its name implies: after the alignment of your teeth and jaw are fully corrected, it literally “retains” that alignment. But how exactly does a retainer work? The rationale behind why your orthodontist, Dr. H Arthur Nelson includes a retainer as part of practically every long-term orthodontic treatment is twofold:

– Settling: It takes time for your teeth to settle into their new alignment, but this is exactly what we want them to do.

– Relapse: Your teeth may shift back to the same position they were in before your bite was corrected. This is what we desire to prevent.

Depending on your precise circumstances, Dr. H Arthur Nelson may advise you that for three months you wear your retainer almost all the time; that is, you would take it out only while eating or cleaning it. Or you may be instructed to wear it only part time for a year or more.

It’s important to follow these instructions exactly so that all the time and effort that was put into your straightening your smile can be preserved. A straight smile can even help you evade future dental problems such as speech issues, TMJ, bruxism and enamel erosion.

Every night during your oral hygiene routine, you’ll want to clean your retainer. You can brush it with water, nonabrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. These are gentle and effective tools to use; abrasive toothpaste or hard bristles may scratch the appliance. Afterward, rinse it thoroughly and place it back in your mouth or into its case as instructed.

Are you ready for your retainer? Feel free to call a member of our friendly dental staff at Nelson and Associates McKinney in McKinney, Texas. Our number is 972-529-5111, so call us today!