Why your dentist might recommend a retainer
Designed to correct a misaligned bite or straighten cooked teeth, dental retainers are usually made from metal and plastic. Every retainer is custom made by a dentist for the patient who wears it, whether they wear it on the top, bottom or on both rows of teeth.
Traditional retainers feature the metal wire across the teeth. However, there are now invisible retainers that are made from clear plastic.
Retainers are used for more than just correcting problems with the teeth. They can also be used to help with temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ. Medical problems like tongue thrust can be corrected with the use of a retainer.
They have been used to stop the damage caused by bruxism, the habit of grinding your teeth when you are sleeping. It can take some time to get used to wearing a retainer. Patients have to learn how to talk when the retainer is in place, and they are usually removed before eating. However, they are not painful to wear and could be an alternative to braces.
The severity of the condition will dictate how long a retainer is used for. To correct medical conditions such as tongue thrust or bruxism, the retainer may be worn until the condition is effectively cured. When used to keep space between the teeth for a missing tooth, it may be worn until the new tooth starts to grow in.
Your dentist may recommend wearing one for a few months if you have recently had your braces removed to ensure the teeth stay straight. Retainers that are worn to correct an overbite or move the teeth can expect to wear the unit for a year or longer.
While a dentist can help determine whether or not a retainer is right for you, Angie’s List can help you find the Los Angeles dentist. Sign in or join today to see exclusive ratings and reviews for more than 8,300 dentists in the area.