Congratulations! Your child’s braces are finally off and they’ve moved on to retainers.
Retainers are the final phase of orthodontic treatment. They prevent your child’s teeth from shifting back into their original, pre-braces position.
This unwanted shifting is because teeth are not set into the jawbone like concrete pillars. Instead, teeth are attached to the jawbone by periodontal ligaments. These elastic ligaments allow the teeth to shift back to their previous position if your child doesn’t wear their retainer.
Retainers help ensure all of the work achieved by braces isn’t lost.
Some retainers are fixed and are worn all the time. They can only be removed by a dentist or orthodontist. Some retainers are removable by the patient. Both types are used to keep teeth from shifting away from the position achieved by using braces. Retainers can be just metal, plastic or plastic with metal wire.
Your child’s orthodontist will recommend the best type of retainer for their smile. They’ll also instruct you on how often and how long your child needs to wear it. Retainers are usually worn for at least as long as your child wore braces.
Also, be sure to keep retainers clean. They can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned properly. And bacteria leads to cavities.
Make sure your child follows the retainer wear and care instructions provided by their orthodontist.