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If you have been wearing braces, or even a clear aligner, you have undoubtedly been looking forward to the day that the only things in your mouth are your teeth, gums and tongue! Rest assured, that day will come, but not right away. In almost every case when a patient has orthodontics, a retainer is needed for follow-up care. Your braces or aligners do the work of moving your teeth into the proper positions. But once they are where they need to be, they need to stay there. That is where your retainer comes in. Your retainer will keep your teeth in place while they settle in, and your jaw ligaments adjust. Every mouth is different, and because of that, each person will need to wear a retainer for a different amount of time. Some people may only need to wear a retainer for a few months, others may to wear a retainer while they sleep for the rest of their lives. Whatever the case may be, it is important that you follow the dentist’s instructions if you want to keep your teeth from moving back into their original positions.

If you have a fixed retainer, you will need to brush it every night along with the rest of your teeth. It is also important to floss your retainer, and you should talk with your dentist about using a water flosser, or a floss pick or threader to make the job easier. A removable retainer can be gently cleaned with a vinegar and water solution, and placed in a denture solution when you are not wearing it. If you need to take it out for eating or playing sports, make sure that you keep it in its case, and get in the habit of keeping your case in your pocket, backpack, purse or briefcase. Retainers can be expensive to replace!

If you have been thinking about getting braces, or if your dentist has suggested that it might be time to straighten your teeth, our dentist Dr. Rebecca Payne deVerges would love to meet you. If you live in the Mandeville, Louisiana area and would like to schedule an appointment at Northshore Orthodontics, call 985-626-0160 today. We’re looking forward to helping you smile!