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Once braces are removed, the number one question patients ask is, “Do I really need a retainer after orthodontic care in Brooklyn?”

It does seem odd, at first, that after wearing your braces for so long, that you would still need some type of device in your mouth. However, Dr. Susan Liebman of Brooklyn Heights Orthodontics cautions her patients who have just had their braces removed, that there is a risk for a relapse. The corrective benefits your teeth achieved from all those many months you wore braces could reverse without the use of a retainer.

Dr. Liebman, a board-certified orthodontist, has been providing orthodontic care in Brooklyn for more than two decades, and is an active member of several highly regarded dental organizations. Her ability to connect with patients of all ages has made her a well-respected orthodontist in New York. She is well-versed in the need to wear a retainer after braces.

What if I didn’t use a retainer after having my braces removed?

Orthodontic CareAs mentioned, there is a good chance that if you didn’t use a retainer, your teeth could shift back to where they were before you had braces put on. This is especially true if you had gaps between your teeth. Without a retainer, you may find yourself once again needing braces to correct the damage.

How long and how often would I need to use a retainer?

When your braces are removed, Dr. Liebman will examine your newly positioned teeth and determine whether you need a fixed or removable retainer and how long you will need to wear it.

There is a theory that you should wear a removable retainer for the same amount of time that you wore your braces. If you wore your braces for 18 months, then you should wear a retainer for 18 months. The timeframe for wearing a fixed retainer is much longer.

What is the difference between fixed and removable retainers?

A fixed retainer is just that: it is a fixed wire that is held in place to the back of your teeth by special, dental cement. A fixed retainer may need to be kept in place for as long as five years.

On the other hand, a removable retainer is meant to be worn at all times for the first six months after having your braces removed, except when eating, participating in any type of sport that involves contact, or when brushing your teeth. It is made of a wire that goes across either the upper or lower front teeth and is held in place by clasps that attach to the back teeth. This type of retainer can easily be removed from your mouth when necessary.

After follow up visits to check to see if there has been any shifting of your teeth’s position, Dr. Liebman may determine that you will need to only wear the retainer at night.

If you would like to learn more about retainers or other orthodontic care in Brooklyn, please contact us online or you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Liebman by calling Brooklyn Heights Orthodontics at (718) 622-6741.