Through the course of routine adjustments, your teeth have been brought into their ideal alignment for a healthier mouth and an appealing smile. However, this is only the first stage of the process. There is still some lingering tension in the periodontal ligaments of the teeth. This tension will need to be counteracted to make sure the teeth stay in their new positions.
Using a retainer helps your teeth maintain their ideal alignment while the residual tension gradually fades. As a general rule of thumb, you will likely need to use a retainer for about as long you needed to wear braces.
There are three different types of retainers that your orthodontist, Dr. Jerrold Hennes, might recommend.
Hawley retainers are the most common style of retainer. This is a thin, acrylic piece molded to match the roof of the mouth. It is removable but it securely attaches to the teeth with a set of sturdy wires.
A clear, plastic retainer might be recommended if your teeth only needed minor adjustments. The clear plastic makes it hard for the casual observer to even notice you are wearing a retainer.
Dr. Jerrold Hennes might recommend using a fixed retainer if you needed a significant amount of adjustment from the braces. This is more likely for lower front teeth. It is a firm metal wire cemented behind your teeth in key locations.
It might take your mouth some time to adapt to the retainer at first. This might result in some excess salivation. In time, things should return to normal.
If you have a question about retainers in Vista, California, you can always call Hennes Orthodontics at (760) 598.1707 to learn more.