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Every mouth has a required set of time to wear braces in order to achieve the desired results, though the average length of time is about 22 months. Unsurprisingly, patients are very eager to show off the results by this point, but it’s important to keep in mind that braces are not the only part of orthodontic treatment. Tension lingering in the teeth and periodontal ligaments can still shift the teeth if they are not completely settled. The second phase of treatment is to receive an orthodontic retainer to maintain the new alignment of your teeth.

Retainers are made of a wire that runs along the teeth and attaches to a durable material such as plastic to keep the teeth stable in their new positions. You can receive a removable retainer whose crosses in front of your teeth, or a fixed retainer that is cemented to your mouth and whose wire runs behind your teeth.

While braces typically are worn for a few years at most, a retainer may need to be worn from a few years to as long as a lifetime, and treatment time differs for each patient. Dr. Michael Bowen will provide instructions on how to wear your retainer and keep it in good shape so that it prevents any movement in the teeth that allows them to shift back to their old alignment.

A removable retainer should be brushed every day with a special toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush, and if it doesn’t need to be worn at night, it can be placed overnight in a soaking solution. A fixed retainer can be cleaned during your routine oral care and should be brushed twice a day and flossed daily with an appliance such as a floss threader that makes it easy to clean every part of the appliance.

Contact Great Big Smiles Orthodontics at 480-948-4200 today to speak with our orthodontist about receiving an orthodontic retainer in Scottsdale, Arizona.