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Retainers do what the name denotes; after your bite’s alignment is fully corrected, they literally “retain” that alignment. How do they do it, exactly? There are two reasons why Dr. Stephen Kwitnicki includes a retainer as part of virtually every long-term orthodontic treatment:

– Settling: Teeth tend to move or settle into the place where the most contact occurs between your upper and lower jaw while biting down. It takes time for your teeth to settle into their new alignment.

– Relapse: Your teeth may move back to where they once were before your bite was corrected. This is what we want to prevent.

Depending on your specific situation, Dr. Stephen Kwitnicki may recommend that for three months you only take out your retainer when you are eating or cleaning it. You may be instructed to wear it only part of the time for a year or more.

It’s important to follow these instructions to the letter so that all the hard work that was put into your straightening your smile can be maintained. A bite that is corrected and maintained can even help you avoid future dental issues like speech problems, joint problems and enamel erosion.

Every night while brushing your teeth, you’ll want to brush your retainer, too. Nonabrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are the best tools. Afterward, rinse it thoroughly and put it back in your mouth or into its case as instructed by your orthodontist.

Do you have any more questions about how retainers work? Feel free to call a member of our friendly dental staff at Stephen Kwitnicki, DDS in Union, New Jersey. Our number is 908-516-2906. We’re here to help you with whatever you need.