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If you wear braces, you are probably ticking off the days until you will walk into the orthodontist’s office and have them removed. It will be feel good to have the pressure on your teeth relieved, but you aren’t quite done. Even though your braces have done the hard work of moving your teeth into proper alignment, your teeth, and for that matter, the ligaments of your jaw still need time to settle into their new positions. To make sure that takes place, your dentist will give you a retainer.

Every person and every mouth is different, and for that reason, there is no set time to wear a retainer. Some people may need to wear a retainer for a few months, while others may have to wear one every night for the rest of their lives. No matter how long you need to wear your retainer, you must wear it for the length of time prescribed by your dentist. If you don’t your teeth may drift back into their original positions.

A fixed retainer consists of a wire that runs behind your teeth. It is cemented in place by your orthodontist, and you can’t remove it. You clean that retainer when you brush and floss your teeth, and you may need to use a floss threader to clean around your retainer. A removable retainer is made of a wire that runs along the front of your teeth that is attached to an acrylic mouthpiece. You should clean a removable retainer with a vinegar and water solution, and a toothbrush with soft bristles. When you are not wearing your retainer, you should place it in a denture soaking solution, or in its case.

If you are thinking about getting braces, or are thinking about getting braces for your children, our orthodontist, Dr. Lee A. Mahlmann would love to meet you. If you live in the Richmond, Texas area and would like to schedule an appointment at Lee A. Mahlmann, DDS, MS, Inc., call 281-342-6311, today.