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Through the course of several routine adjustment sessions with Dr. Christopher Liang your braces have gradually moved your teeth in an improved alignment for a more functional mouth and an appealing smile. Even after your braces are removed from your teeth. there will still be some residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth in place.

If the residual tension isn’t dealt with, it can slowly start to pull your teeth out of alignment in a process known as relapse. By using a retainer, you can hold your teeth in their new alignment while the residual tension in the periodontal ligaments slowly subsides. You should expect to wear your retainer for about as long as you were wearing braces.

There are three different types of retainers. A Hawley retainer is most common and is essentially a thin acrylic piece molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth. It is removable yet securely attaches to your teeth with wires. A clear plastic retainer is called for if your teeth only needed minor adjustment. The clear plastic material makes it hard for people to notice they are even in.

A fixed retainer is called for if your teeth, particularly your front teeth, needed a significant amount of adjustment. A fixed retainer is usually a firm metal wire cemented behind your teeth.

It’s normal for your mouth to produce some excess saliva for the first few days after you start wearing a retainer. After a while your mouth will adapt and saliva production should return to normal.

If you are due to have your braces removed and you have questions about getting a retainer, please feel free to call Dr. Christopher Liang at 301-841-9348 to schedule an appointment.