Braces are designed to slowly move your teeth through routine adjustments into a pattern that creates an appealing smile and a more functional mouth. The duration that you have to wear braces will vary based on how much movement was required to meet your alignment goals, as well as other factors.
Once the braces are removed you are usually given a retainer to help insure your teeth stay in their new position.
Your teeth are actually held in place by periodontal ligaments. Even after you ideal alignment has been achieved there is still some residual tension in these ligaments that can cause them to try to pull your teeth back towards your old bite pattern. This process is called relapse. Wearing a retainer helps firm up your new smile, while these ligaments adjust to the new location.
Being fitted for a retainer usually involves a series of x-rays. This helps us get a clear picture of what’s going on in your jaw structure and helps to determine just how long you’ll need to wear your retainer. This is followed up by taking a bite impression.
It’s not uncommon for your mouth to produce some excess saliva for the first few days. After that things should return to normal. It’s not uncommon for you to wear your retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.
If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please feel free to call us at 323.266.2120 to schedule an appointment.