Many younger patients who’ve gone through years of wearing braces often find their teeth regressing due to incorrect retainer usage. After all the effort spent in order to correct one’s teeth alignment, it’s a pity to see many adolescent patients lose their beautiful smiles due to either losing one’s retainer, forgetting to wear them, or simply not understanding the importance of consistent retainer usage.
Modern retainers in 2020 are far more user-friendly than the types from the past; using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies, these retainers fit precisely onto the teeth which allows for maximum comfort and helps teeth stay in position for longer. Let’s take a closer look as to why proper retainer usage can greatly improve our children’s quality of life and oral health.
Simply put, retainers for teeth are commonly worn after a patient fully corrects their teeth by wearing braces. They can be seen as the final phase of a braces treatment, and often patients will be needed to wear retainers for the rest of their lives to maintain their teeth’s alignment.
Most dentists will require patients to wear retainers during sleep (7-8 hours a day). In some cases, the patient might need to wear retainers during the day for around a year after completing braces treatment.
Leaving aside aesthetic concerns, there are actually many functional reasons why having straight teeth is good for our oral and overall health and well being. Straighter teeth are much easier to clean and are less susceptible to cavities or plaque build-up. A correct bite, which retainers can correct, is also very important in chewing food properly (especially crucial for younger kids). Having straight teeth and a correct bite may allow more saliva production, which reduces plaque build-up & the chance of developing cavities.
Retainers can be used as an early form of tooth grinding (bruxism) detection. If you find that the retainers constantly have perforations or holes in them, it could be a sign that your child might be grinding your teeth at night. As such, a nightguard is might be a better option as it protects the teeth and is more durable to breakages.
Retainers are often thought to be a hassle and I see many of my younger patients unhappy that they need to wear them on a daily basis. Many kids who wear retainers throughout the day find that they are easy to misplace and find that removing them before meals can be a gross experience. However, wearing retainers doesn’t need to feel like a chore for your kids. Here are some tips & tricks to help your kids build up good retainer habits in their lives:
At the end of the day, it may take a while for your children to become accustomed to wearing their retainers and settling into good retainer habits, but be patient and they will get there eventually. As with all good habits we try to inculcate into our children, they will be the ones thanking us in the future and it’ll be very rewarding to see their glowing, beautiful smiles when that day comes.