As advanced and seamless modern orthodontic appliances such as retainers may be, they still can cause a great deal of discomfort to users. In a recent DentaVox survey, however, most of the respondents (32%) shared that their first association with retainers is “necessary” compared to 14% who think they only cause a “minor inconvenience”. Beauty requires sacrifice and people are obviously aware of that. Let’s go through other key findings and polarities that will shed more light on people’s perceptions of retainers!
- Which are the biggest drawbacks of retainers?
- Which relationships suffer the most because of retainers?
- Is wearing retainers after teeth straightening necessary and for how long?
Which are the biggest drawbacks of retainers?
If wearing retainers is not such a big deal as DentaVox results show, then why 17% of respondents admit they should be wearing retainers, but they’re not? It comes as no surprise that the top answer (19%) among all possible disadvantages of retainers is that they should be worn constantly (or at least the bonded/fixed ones). In the second place respondents have put the necessity of visiting the orthodontist for regular maintenance (17%), and in the third – the high costs associated with retainers (11%).
While the first two drawbacks are unbeatable, the price factor is rather debatable. In recent years, new technologies have driven down the costs of quality dental retainers. In reality, their price can vary significantly depending on the type of retainers and where they are purchased from. One clear retainer, for example, can cost 250-350 USD if delivered by your dentist / the dental lab, or less than 100 USD if you take your own impressions.
Which relationships suffer the most because of retainers?
Contrary to common assumptions, the majority of respondents (24%) say that none of their social interactions suffer because of wearing retainers – compared to only 12% who state that they all do. Expectedly, 19% of people admit that their intimate relationships are negatively affected by the use of these orthodontic appliances. Maybe at least in the beginning.
Patients wearing retainers say that over the course of time they get used to them and it makes no difference to their intimate partners as well. Given that retainers are not visible to others, they shouldn’t cause serious issues in other human interactions, too. Sometimes, however, they can temporarily impact speech. Luckily, it usually takes less than a week of practicing reading aloud to work it out. In other cases, retainers actually help with speech impediments.
Wearing retainers after teeth straightening
Is it necessary?
Asked whether patients should wear retainers after their teeth or bite have been straightened, the majority of respondents (56%) answered affirmatively. Only 8% said it is not obligatory, and the rest (36%) were not sure. Given that half of all respondents say that they have never needed any orthodontic corrections, these results are logical.
The (uncomfortable) truth is that nearly everyone will need to wear some kind of retainer after braces. As some orthodontists put it, think of retainers as an insurance policy to protect your new smile. No one would want to waste all the investment and hard work put into braces because of the imminent relapse of teeth.
How long should they be used to keep teeth aligned?
Nearly half of all DentaVox respondents (48%) think that retainers should be worn for a limited time in order to retain the new alignment of the teeth. A smaller portion (30%) of them shared that they should be used indefinitely. Others (22%) admitted that they are not sure about it. And what do orthodontists say?
The recommended time for wearing a retainer after braces differs between patients and the type of treatment they have had. One may need to wear a night retainer for just a year or many years to guarantee their smile stays perfect. Another may need to wear a fixed retainer for the rest of their life. In some cases even a few nights of not wearing their retainer can cause unwanted movement or crooked teeth.
So, yes, a beautiful smile takes a lot of sacrifice. But it’s worth it, isn’t it?
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