Over the course of your adjustment sessions, your braces have realigned your teeth into your ideal alignment. This will give you a fully functional mouth and a more appealing smile. Even after your braces are removed there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that help to anchor your teeth to your jaw.
Without mitigating this tension, the periodontal ligaments can slowly start to pull your teeth out of alignment. The technical term for this process is called relapse. Wearing a retainer after your braces are removed will help to hold your teeth in their new alignment while your periodontal ligaments adjust to their new alignment.
It’s common practice for Dr. John R. Schouten to fit you for a retainer shortly after your braces are removed. The process usually involves taking a few x-rays and creating a bite impression. The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley-style retainer. It’s a thin acrylic piece molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth and attaches to your teeth with wires.
There are also clear plastic retainers for people that only needed a minor amount of adjustment to the teeth in their smile. Fixed retainers are a wire cemented behind the teeth for people who required more significant adjustment from their braces.
It’s natural for you to have some excess saliva for the first few days after you start wearing a retainer. After a while your mouth will get used to the retainer and return to normal.
If you are about to have your braces removed and you have questions a retainer, please feel free to call Dr. John R. Schouten at 435.637.0820 to schedule an appointment.