The first thing you may think about when you consider orthodontics is braces. You have an issue with your teeth, go to consult with an orthodontist, then they fit you with a set of braces and you start your treatment plan. Well, that may be the case for some patients, but there are some instances where a retainer might be needed to alleviate some issues before delving into the world of braces. Each patient is different, making each treatment plan a little bit different as well. Here’s why a retainer might be used without having braces first.
Traditionally, when we think of retainers, we think of the devices that are fitted to our teeth to help keep them in place after braces are removed. Although that is correct, there are other uses for retainers to correct a variety of issues, including:
- Mild spacing on one or two teeth
- Mild crowding on one or two teeth
A retainer may be prescribed to correct a certain issue before braces are considered.
Retainers for Spacing
Retainers may be used to close a gap between the teeth and depending on the size and severity of the gap, braces may not even be needed afterwards. This, of course, will vary from patient to patient. The retainer may be worn for a period of time (sometimes years) to help ease the gap closed and then subsequently worn to maintain the positioning of the teeth so the gap doesn’t reopen.
Retainers for Crowding
Retainers may be used to correct a misaligned tooth. Generally, this is a single tooth that may have relapsed from a previous orthodontic treatment. This happens when a retainer isn’t worn properly or was broken or lost. If there are more than one or two teeth out of alignment, this type of treatment with a retainer may not be for you.
The Importance of Retainers
Retainers have earned their keep in the field of orthodontics as both prevention and maintenance devices. With a variety of uses, many orthodontists turn to retainers to help patients with jaw or medical issues before braces are even a factor. So the next time you think braces are always the first part of any orthodontic treatment plan, think again! Retainers are an important piece of the puzzle too.
At Charleston Orthodontic Specialists, we devise a plan that best meets your orthodontic needs! Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started with our team today