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Remember To Wear Your Retainers

Remember To Wear Your Retainer

ROUND LAKE, GRAYSLAKE AND GURNEE, ILLINOIS – The end of your orthodontic treatment has finally arrived. The next step is getting fitted for a retainer.

Retainers are more common than you may think. After the braces come off, many people wear a retainer until their teeth have settled. However, many kids and adults wear retainers for other reasons.

“For those who have recently had braces taken off, it is important to wear the retainers consistently for the first year to keep the teeth aligned,” says Grayslake orthodontics provider Dr. Michael Stosich. “During this time, the bones surrounding the teeth haven’t strengthened completely, and the teeth can shift easily.”

Invisalign Teen expert Dr. Stosich explains a few reasons for wearing a retainer.

Teeth are in a fragile state

Typically, braces are worn for two to three years. During that time, the teeth are moved, rotated and pushed into the correct position. The bones surrounding the teeth need time to strengthen after the braces come off; otherwise, the teeth will shift back out of alignment. The retainer keeps the teeth in their proper position to prevent shifting.

Retainers can close a gap

Some kids may wear a retainer to close a space between teeth. In this case, braces weren’t necessary. Closing a gap can help many with speech problems, according to the Kid’s Health website.


Wearing a retainer can also help many children with tongue thrusting habits in early treatment. Tongue thrusting is a condition where a child or adult pushes his/her tongue through their teeth when speaking. Many tongue thrust without realizing, and it can cause severe protrusion of the front incisors.

Tongue cage retainers are designed to train the tongue to go to the roof of the mouth when you speak, instead of into your teeth.

Temporomandibular joint disorder

Bite problems can cause severe grinding of the teeth, leading to jaw pain and headaches. Wearing a retainer at night can help by preventing you from closing your mouth completely at night, which can alleviate the grinding.

“Retainers can do more than keep your teeth in place,” says Dr. Stosich, an expert provider in orthodontics for adults. “Habits and medical problems can be corrected as well.”

There are three basic types of retainers to look for when getting your braces off. These include:

  • Hawley Retainers – A traditional retainer made of a piece of plastic that will fit against the roof of your mouth and a wire that runs along the outer surface of your teeth. These retainers are custom-made to fit your mouth. Typically, you can decide what color retainer you want.
  • Essix Retainers – These retainers are made of clear plastic, and look like the Invisalign aligner trays. Many patients use these to whiten their teeth.
  • Permanent Retainers -These permanent retainers consist of a thin wire that is bonded to the back of your incisors. Many like this option, because you don’t have to worry about forgetting to wear your retainer every night.

Getting your braces off is an exciting time. Don’t ruin all the progress you made by forgetting to wear your retainer.

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  • Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS

    Dr. Michael Stosich is a board-certified orthodontist and the director of orthodontics at the University of Chicago Medicine. He is known for his extensive experience in leading clinical enterprises, publishing, and lecturing both in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Stosich has expertise in starting, growing, and maintaining successful orthodontic practices, including those in pediatric dentistry, general dentistry, and multi-specialty clinics. He serves on the editorial board of several publications and has been involved in innovating patient care and education, focusing on the future of dental and orthodontic healthcare.

Stosich Consulting