Posted .

Now that the braces installed by Dr. Raymond R. Niles have realigned your teeth to attain your ideal smile, they can be removed. However, once your braces are removed there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth in place.

This residual tension can slowly start to pull your teeth out of their ideal alignment in a process known as relapse. Wearing a retainer helps hold your teeth in their ideal alignment until your periodontal ligaments adjust to their new alignment. As a general rule, you can expect to wear your retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.

Depending on your particular needs, there are three different types of retainer that Dr. Raymond R. Niles might recommend.

The most common type of retainer is known as a Hawley. It’s basically a thin acrylic piece molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth. It is removable yet securely attaches to your teeth with wires.

Dr. Raymond R. Niles might recommend a clear plastic retainer if your teeth only needed minor adjustment. The clear plastic material makes it hard for people to notice a retainer is even in.

A fixed retainer is called for if your teeth, particularly your front teeth, needed a significant amount of adjustment. A fixed retainer is usually a firm metal wire cemented behind your teeth.

You should expect to experience increased salivation for the first few days after you start wearing a retainer. After a while your mouth will adapt to the retainer and your saliva production should return to normal.

If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please call Niles Dental at 703.494.4101 to schedule an appointment.