Tuckahoe, NY – We love celebrating with our patients on the day braces are removed. But, as our patients know, this doesn’t mark the end of the orthodontic journey.
“Retainers are a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Sam Polan of Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics. “Your smile will be straight when we remove your braces, but it won’t be fully stable. Without a retainer, your teeth will want to drift right back to their original positions.”
To ensure the smile stabilizes and the teeth remain straight, retainers are necessary. Braces work to guide your teeth to their new locations over the course of your time in braces. But when your braces come off, the tissues of the mouth that help hold the teeth in place will need time to adjust. They are somewhat elastic, so there will be a tendency to pull the teeth back to where they were before the braces were put on. While this weakens over time, the teeth will always have some tendency to drift.
Retainers, however, will counteract this tendency and will hold your teeth in place.
“Everyone is different and some people’s teeth will shift quickly and others will shift more slowly over time,” says Dr. Polan. “But we know that teeth have a natural tendency to shift as we age, so we encourage night time retainer wear for life.”
The first several months after braces are removed are the most crucial for patients. Orthodontists will typically advise patients to wear their retainers around the clock, only removing them to eat, during these first few months after braces. Then, depending on how the teeth are stabilizing, patients may be able to adjust to only wearing their retainers part of the day, typically overnight while sleeping.
“We know that you’ve worked hard on your new smile, so we want it to last- and retainer wear is the only way to ensure your new smile stays as straight,” says Dr. Polan.
If you have any questions about your retainer wear, Dr. Polan and his team are always available to answer them. Call Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics at 914-654-1859.