Did The Orthodontist Recommend A Retainer? Faqs About This Device

Posted on: 6 July 2021

Does your child need a retainer? If the orthodontist recently recommended this dental device, take a look at the top questions parents have about retainers.

Why Should Your Child Wear a Retainer?

There are a few reasons why children and teens need this orthodontic device. Some children need to wear a retainer before they get, or instead of, braces. A retainer can help to close a small space, fixing a gap that might otherwise require metal and bracket or invisible tray types of braces.

Retainers can also help to correct or prevent other orthodontic issues. Specialized devices can stop a tongue thrust. A tongue thrust is exactly what the name sounds like. Children with this issue thrust their tongues forward, allowing it to move through their teeth when they speak. A tongue crib or cage retainer prevents this motion and helps to correct the thrust over time.

Along with these corrective uses, your child may also need a retainer following other orthodontic treatments—especially braces. After the orthodontist removes your child's braces, they may recommend a retainer to maintain the new position of the teeth.

Will Your Child Wear a Retainer 24-7?

The answer to this question depends on the use and type of treatment. Your child may need to wear the retainer longer or for greater periods of time if they need corrective treatment for a gap or tongue thrust. But if they wear a retainer for preventative use (after braces), they may only need the device during specific times of the day or night.

Some children may need a fixed retainer. The orthodontist places this device in the child's mouth. The child can't remove the retainer themselves, making it similar to the wire part of traditional braces.

How Long Will Your Child Need to Wear a Retainer?

Your child has their own individual orthodontic needs. This means there is no standard or universal time frame for wearing a retainer. Your child's best friend may only need the device for a year, while your child might use it nightly for a decade. The length of time a child needs a retainer depends on several factors. These include the child's mouth, the type of treatment they need, and the device itself.

How Should Your Child Care for a Retainer?

Unless your child has a fixed retainer, they can remove the device to eat and drink. But this doesn't mean they won't need to care for or clean it. This may include brushing the device daily or other at-home care steps. Follow the dentist's or orthodontist's directions for daily maintenance.