At Linaker Orthodontics, this question has come up from time to time from our patients and parents. We try to explain the importance of retainer wear before treatment begins, during treatment and of course as your treatment is completed and retainers are placed.
Change is a natural part of life. Just as our bodies change throughout our whole life, our teeth change too. We start out with no teeth, then get baby teeth, and shed those in favor of permanent teeth. Sometimes there are problems with tooth placement and jaw positions. That’s where the orthodontist is called in to bring about a change for the better, and transform misaligned teeth and jaws into a healthy and beautiful smile.
After any orthodontic treatment is complete the most reliable way to keep your teeth where you and Dr. Linaker moved them is by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Your teeth will not stay where they’ve moved to unless you do. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.
When treatment is complete, there is a “settling in” period; teeth adjust as you bite, chew, swallow and speak – actions that all place forces on your teeth. These small changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. If your retainer is not worn as prescribed, however, large changes occur instead. Large changes are disappointing to you and to us. If you are in retainers, and should you notice an unwanted change in your bite or your smile, or if you should lose a removable retainer or damage a fixed retainer (bonded in behind teeth), contact us right away. Don’t give your teeth an opportunity to shift.
Commit to wearing retainers as prescribed and limit those undesirable changes!