Orthodontic treatment can be a big investment. Not only can aligning teeth improve your health and well being, it can be a life changing experience. No one wants to see their teeth shift back after having had treatment to align them.
Just as our bodies change over time, our teeth and jawbones change too. Not only do teeth have a tendency to return to their original positions, they also naturally tend to crowd and upright over time.
Undergoing orthodontic treatment can fix misaligned teeth, but it won’t prevent changes from occurring after it is finished. After treatment, the final positions of teeth can only be maintained with retainers, according to your orthodontist's protocol. Retainers are required for as long as you want to keep your teeth aligned. Though the frequency of wearing them can slowly be decreased over time, retainers are a lifetime commitment and the majority of orthodontists recommend continuing to wear retainers nightly at least 2 to 3 times a week indefinitely.
Luckily there are several different types of retainers. Most are removable, but some are bonded or fixed behind the teeth. They all share the goal of keeping your teeth straight, but they accomplish this in different ways. The appropriate retainer for you is based on several factors, and your orthodontist will help guide you in selecting the best one to maintain your results.
Once your teeth are straight, it is up to you to maintain your tooth alignment. Just like any pair of new shoes, phone, or car -- retainers can wear down and need repaired or replaced over time. It is important to let your orthodontist know right away if your retainer is lost, damaged, or broken. Don’t give teeth an opportunity to shift! Stay committed to wearing retainers as prescribed to limit undesirable changes.
When you choose an orthodontist for treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist. Orthodontists are experts in tooth movement and jaw orthopedics. They have the skills and experience to give you your best smile and guide you in retaining your results.