For those who are not familiar with retainers, they are custom-made dental appliances made from a combination of tongue-shaped acrylic and thin wire. They are commonly used to hold teeth in an optimal position following the removal of braces prescribed to align crooked or misaligned teeth. Most dentists, including those with Northbrook Dental, will advise patients to wear a retainer for about 12 months after the removal of their braces. For the first 4 to 6 months, they are encouraged to wear their retainers full time. From there, they can transition to wearing them only when they are ready to go to sleep. All in all, retainers serve as a form of adjuvant therapy in that they maximize the benefits of orthodontic treatments, namely braces, by preventing teeth from moving back to their former position.
Dentists of Northbrook Dispel a Common Misconception Regarding Dental Retainers
Although braces do a great job when it comes to straightening teeth, many patients find that their teeth gradually go back to their previous position once their braces have been removed. To prevent this from happening, most dentists will advise patients to wear a retainer. It is important to note, however, that retainers and braces work together, meaning that, contrary to popular belief, a retainer alone does not straighten teeth. For individuals with mildly crooked or misaligned teeth but do not want to wear braces, many of these same dentists will recommend Invisalign as an alternative. For reference, Invisalign is a system of clear aligners made from thermoplastic trays that gradually move teeth into an ideal position as prescribed by a licensed dentist.
Dentists in Northbrook Weigh in on Who Could Benefit the Most From Clear Aligners
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Slight gaps in-between teeth
- Overbites, Underbites, or Crossbites
By comparison, many of the same dentists in Northbrook will recommend braces, along with the associated tongue-shaped, acrylic and thin wire retainers used after they come off, to the following individuals:
- Upper front teeth protrusion
- Open bites
- Severe spacing problems
- Severe crowding that affects chewing and speech
In summary, retainers do not straighten teeth; moreover, they help keep them straight after a patient has had their braces removed. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, on the other hand, can gradually move teeth into an ideal position, which not only makes them straighter but also healthier.