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Retainers are used to hold and maintain teeth in their new fixed positions following orthodontic treatment. Some pressure and soreness may be experienced for the first few days of wearing a retainer, but the discomfort soon fades.
Once orthodontic treatment is complete, your bite will not be fully stabilized at first and the bone surrounding your teeth will not be fully organized. Because of this, the chances your teeth will revert to their original, improper position are high. Your teeth need time to stabilize into their new position.
A retainer will help teeth maintain their new adjusted positioning. Depending on the type of retainer used, some may be a removable appliance or a fixed wire bonded to the back of your front teeth.
Depending on the specifics your case, retainer use may be required each night as you sleep. In some cases, retainers may need to be worn during the daytime as well. The needed timeframe for retainer use may also vary depending on your specific case. Some people may need to wear a retainer for several years; some may not require that length of time. Some patients may need to wear a fixed or removable retainer the rest of their lives.