Your orthodontic treatment doesn’t end when you get your braces off or finish your Line-M-Up™ tray sequence, because you’ll still need to wear your retainers!
Although it’s generally a lesser-recognized portion of the orthodontic journey, post-care routines are incredibly important for a patient’s treatment results. The most common way for orthodontic patients to maintain their new smiles will be through using retainers.
You’ve likely already heard many benefits and success stories about using retainers, as well as troubling failed tales about what happens when patients neglect their retainer usage. The biggest takeaway parents and patients should take from retainers is that they help keep smiles in their perfect positioning when worn diligently, and that a smile can revert back to pre-treatment states when retainers aren’t worn.
There truly is a ton of information that parents and patients should keep in mind when it comes to retainers, and below we’ll be going over some important facts and insights that’ll help you brush up on your retainer intellect and keep you more prepared for when your treatment process comes to an end!
Hawley Retainers & Line-M-Up™ Retainers
Hawley retainers have been used for nearly a century, and they’re named after Dr. Charles Hawley. Hawley retainers just so happen to still be one of the most common retainer options in today’s orthodontic industry, and they still entail the same removable features that have been utilized since the 1920s. It’s likely that Hawley retainers are the type of metal retainer that you generally imagine, and they’re very effective in terms of keeping teeth in their proper positioning.
Line-M-Up™ retainers are much different than Hawley retainers, and this is because you’ll end up using your last aligner tray as your retainer for your post-care routines. This subsequently means that Line-M-Up™ patients will need to be extra careful about maintaining the integrity of their final aligner trays, and Dr. Karpac will provide you with extra cleaning tips to ensure that these trays will last a long time.
But whether you received braces treatment or invisible aligners, your retainer will always be 100% custom-fitted to your mouth. Your retainer usage is very important because it’ll help you maintain the overall results of your treatment, and this is why every patient must always follow Dr. Karpac’s directions and keep up with check-ups in the months after treatment has ended. It’s possible to get your retainers adjusted as times goes on, and in general you should wear your removable retainer during certain times of the day or night based upon your unique needs.
Retainers Can Get Damaged And Potentially Wear Out
It’s recommended to regularly wear a retainer after braces or Line-M-Up™ treatment, and patients must maintain good habits and routines with removable retainers in order for it maintain its overall effectiveness. We understand if you may be a bit confused about your retainer routine, so you can always ask Dr. Karpac any questions when you aren’t sure about your needed retainer usage!
It’s also important for parents and patients to remember that removable retainers will likely need to be replaced after a few years of regular usage, and this is simply because wear and tear can eventually decrease effectiveness. It’s important to make sure your retainer avoids hot water, washing machines, hot pants pockets, napkins, hot car dashboards and many other surfaces/areas that could harm its structural integrity.
It’s also important that patients don’t try to adjust their retainers on their own, because retainers can be easily damaged. If you’re having any issues with your retainers, be sure to make an appointment with Dr. Karpac so you can get adjustments or a replacement if necessary.
How Long Do Retainers Need To Be Worn?
The most standard treatment routine for retainer usage is to wear them for 12 hours a day for at least the first 9 months after treatment has ended, and then patients should later switch to wearing their retainers only while sleeping or at nighttime.
If you want to keep your smile in a pristine condition like it is when you complete your treatment process, then you’ll need to remain consistent with your retainer usage and upkeep for at least a few years after treatment ends. Suggested usage will vary on a patient-to-patient basis, but it’s safe to say that you can always continue to wear your retainers indefinitely to do your part in maintaining your treatment results that are supposed to last for the rest of your life.
Orthodontic Treatment Doesn’t End When You Get Your Braces Off
When your braces or Line-M-Up™ treatment is completed, it’s important to remember that your smile maintenance hasn’t. Patients will inevitably experience teeth shifting as they get older, and not wearing your retainers as prescribed by Dr. Karpac could lead to relapsing. This means that you teeth could shift a little bit, or potentially back to their original positioning.
No one wants to ruin all their hard work by not keeping up with their post-care routine, so it’s important to take your retainer usage seriously because these devices are meant to ensure that your smile lasts forever. JK Orthodontics has been there for so many patients and families when it comes to post-care routines, and we’ll be there for you when you have any questions about your retainer usage and what’s in store for your future smile.
Contact us online or call us at 614-766-0330 (Dublin office) or 614-471-6355 (Gahanna office) to get in touch with us today and learn more about retainers!