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You and your braces have been together for many months. In fact, you may have been wearing your braces for years. The average amount of time people wear braces is around 22 months. When your orthodontist finally takes them off, you may think that you are done wearing appliances.

The truth is, you are almost there, but not quite. Although your braces have come off, your teeth and your jaw muscles have not completely settled into their new positions. To help them stay in alignment, your orthodontist will have you wear a custom-made retainer. Since every mouth, and every bite is different, there is no set length of time to wear a retainer. However, is vitally important that you wear your retainer for the length of time prescribed by the doctor. Some people need to to wear their retainer a number of months, while others may have to wear one every night for the rest of their lives. But wearing it as directed will keep your teeth from moving back into their original positions.

A fixed retainer is a wire worn across the backs of your teeth. It is cemented in, and only the orthodontist can remove it. You will need to brush and floss around the retainer, just as you brush and floss your teeth. With a fixed retainer, you will need to use a floss threader to clean between your teeth.

In the case of a removable retainer, you can continue to brush and floss your teeth normally. You can use an antibacterial rinse to clean your retainer; and vinegar and water will also work. Regular toothpaste should not be used since it can damage your appliance.

If you are interested in improving your smile with braces or other orthodontic treatments, Dr. Laura Rothe would love to meet with you! If you live in the Elkhorn, Nebraska area, you can make an appointment at Skyline Orthodontics by calling 402.289.3232. We’re excited to help you get started on the road to a bright, beautiful smile!