In my practice, many patients have doubts about retainers and their use, so I always try to clarify and make them understand the real importance of using them correctly. Here some of the statements we hear frequently.
1. "I just have to wear retainers for a year after I get my braces off and that is it " MYTH.
These should be used for a long period of time, if you do not want them to move. Why? Because teeth are not anchored to the bone, they are held by the surrounding tissues. In addition, they tend to want to return to their original position and the only thing stopping this process, called relapse, are the retainers. Also, there is natural and physiological tooth movement that happens to all of us over the years and to prevent this from making teeth shift, retainers must be used.
2. "My retainer does not fit anymore, so it no longer works" TRUTH.
When you are not using the retainer the time indicated by the orthodontist, the teeth begin to shift and that is why when you want to place them back on they feel tight, often bother and might no longer fit. The main focus is on the correct use to keep teeth stable in the position achieved by orthodontic treatment.
3. " I completed orthodontic treatment. I no longer have to go back! " MYTH .
As regular check ups are performed during orthodontic treatment, retainers should also be monitored from time to time to ensure that everything goes well.
4. "I must frequently clean my retainer" TRUTH.
The retainer can accumulate saliva and plaque with use. That is why it is recommended to clean it on a regular basis. It can be with a brush and room temperature water and/or with effervescent tablets used once a week to effectively sanitize the device.
5. "I just need one retainer" MYTH.
Just as you change your toothbrush on a regularly because it is worn and dirty, retainers have to be evaluated during check ups to ensure they are in optimum conditions. Remember, broken or malfunctioning retainer does not work.
Dra. Gina De Los Santos