Retainers are an essential final step in orthodontic treatment that will ensure you enjoy long-lasting results and a beautiful smile for many years.
In this article, we’ll debunk some common myths surrounding retainers to help you get the best possible outcome from your treatment.
Facts vs fiction
Myth #1: Retainers are uncomfortable and obtrusive
Retainers are a lifelong commitment, so it’s understandable that some patients worry about how they’ll look and feel. We offer two types of retainers, removable or fixed behind your teeth. Removable retainers fit over your teeth like a mouthguard, except they are clear and much thinner. You’ll only need to wear your removable retainers at night. A fixed retainer consists of a thin metal wire that we glue behind your front teeth. It’s virtually invisible and you’ll quickly forget it’s there.
Myth #2: Retainers can straighten teeth
It’s a misconception that you can straighten your teeth with a removable retainer. Although they may look similar to Invisalign aligners, they work differently. Retainers are designed to precisely fit your teeth and hold them in position, preventing movement. Invisalign aligners, on the other hand, apply pressure to specific teeth to gradually straighten them. Each aligner will move your teeth slightly, so you’ll need to wear a sequence of trays to achieve your new smile.
Myth #3: Retainers are just for teenagers
Some patients believe that teeth can only shift while you’re still growing. Unfortunately, teeth can move at any age, and orthodontic relapse can affect anyone. If you don’t wear retainers after braces, there’s a high probability that your teeth will move. In fact, some of our adult patients are undergoing treatment for a second time because they didn’t wear (or weren’t given) retainers after their first treatment.
Myth #4: You only need to wear retainers for two years
While there may have been some truth to this myth in the past, we now know the importance of long-term retention after braces. You’ll need to wear your retainers indefinitely to keep your teeth straight. Teeth have a natural tendency to shift over time, and sometimes this can happen so gradually you don’t notice until it’s too late. If your teeth do move, you’ll need to wear braces or clear aligners again to straighten them.
Common retainer problems and when to seek help
When we fit your retainers, we’ll make sure they fit perfectly. If over time your removable retainers become tight or uncomfortable, contact us for advice. This could be a sign that your teeth are starting to move.
Retainers are designed to be durable, but they won’t last forever. Contact us before your retainers wear out, so we can organise a seamless replacement.
For extra peace of mind, we include fixed and removable retainers as well as 12 months of aftercare for every patient. So, if you experience a problem with one of your retainers, you can relax while we resolve things.
Our knowledgeable team are always available to help you with any retainer-related concerns. If you have any questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly orthodontists in Surrey. Whether your retainers need replacing or a minor adjustment, we’ll do our best to make it a smooth experience.