Your braces are just one step of the process of aligning your teeth. Over the course of your alignment sessions your teeth have migrated into their ideal alignment. However, the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth still have some residual tension. If you don’t wear a retainer this residual tension will slowly pull your teeth out of alignment in a process known as relapse.
In most cases your retainer is custom fitted to your mouth during the same appointment when your braces are removed. There are three different types of retainers that your orthodontist will recommend for you based on your alignment needs.
Hawley is the most common type of retainer. It is basically a thin acrylic mouthpiece that is custom molded to the shape of your mouth. When you wear it, it is anchored in place by wires that lock into your teeth.
How long you need to wear the retainer might vary. The average treatment duration is equal to the same amount of time you needed to wear braces.
It’s not uncommon for you to salivate a little more when you first start wearing a retainer. In time your mouth will adjust to it and the saliva production should return to normal.
If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please feel free to call us at (843) 525-6228 to schedule an appointment.