This is the typical reaction that I get whenever I talk about retainer wear. Parents eyes get wider and they have a look of shock on their faces.
Let’s talk about orthodontic treatment and what comes after that: a retention period. Most orthodontists consider this phase of treatment a very essential part of treatment. Unfortunately patients and patient’s parents assume that since the visits are not as frequent the importance of this phase is somehow much less than the active orthodontic treatment.
This assumption cannot be further from the truth. During active orthodontic treatment which is the time where the braces, wires and other appliances are actively leveling, changing and correcting the teeth and the bite, we in a sense are going against the nature with whatever we can throw at it!
If your genetic coding dictates that you should have misaligned teeth and a “ bad “ bite, we as orthodontists are going to do whatever we can to change that, and give you a smile that you deserve. By doing this we can do wonders but we are not able to change the genetic coding that you were born with.
I usually use the facelift analogy with my patients. Let’s assume that an individual receives a facelift at age 50, no one in their right mind expects them not to age for the next 30 years. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to retain the results indefinitely?
Well in our case we do have a way and it is such a simple yet effective way. It’s called wearing your retainers!
If the orthodontic retainers are worn properly we are able to counteract the natural aging process and the genetic coding that is constantly working to return your wonderful smile to the way it used to be.
It is advised to wear your retainers full time for the first 1-2 months to let the teeth settle in their new position and then wear them at night indefinitely. Yes indefinitely, because all the other factors are working against you constantly.