What are retainers?
Retainers are custom made appliances which are given after the braces are removed to keep the teeth in their new moved position. They can be used for correcting minor orthodontic problems. They are made of clear acrylic or plastic with wire which covers the outer surface of the tooth.
Retainers should be worn immediately after the braces are removed. Initially for about 6 months they should be worn all the times except eating food and then gradually the time of wearing the retainers is decreased and it has to be worn only at night. In some cases where the malocclusion is very severe, the retainers have to be worn through out the life at night.
What is the function of retainer?
Retainers help to keep the teeth in their new position to which they are moved after the orthodontic treatment. The braces straighten your teeth but the teeth are not settled into the new position until the bone, muscles and the tissue around the teeth adapt themselves according to the new position of the teeth.
What happens if retainers are not worn?
If retainers are not worn ,the teeth which are straightened by the braces try to go back to their original position and again you will have malaligned teeth. In such cases the braces has to be placed again and the whole procedure has to be repeated. If the retainers are not worn for few days and the retainer which is given to you by your dentist does not fit , this should be reported to your dentist immediately. The dentist will try to solve this problem giving another set of retainer depending upon the condition.