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You and your braces have been constant companions for months, maybe even years. But eventually, the time will come for you and your braces to part ways, and for you to start life with a beautiful new smile.

Even when your braces have been removed, your teeth aren’t done settling into their new positions, and there is still a chance that they could drift out of alignment. As the last part of your treatment, a retainer will make sure that you teeth stay in place while the jaw bone and the ligaments in your jaw adjust to keep your smile properly aligned.

Often, your orthodontist will give you a removable retainer, which has a wire that goes around the front of your teeth. You can remove it for eating, or cleaning, but it is important that you follow your orthodontist’s instructions as when to wear your it. You may be fitted with a fixed retainer, which is cemented in place and has a wire that runs behind the teeth. If you are concerned about your appearance, talk with the doctor about wearing a clear retainer.

Since every person, every situation, and every mouth is different, there is no set time for how long you must wear your retainer. Some people may need to wear one for a few months. Others may need to wear a retainer at night for the rest of their lives. You need to regularly brush your retainer, and it is a good idea to put it in a soaking solution overnight. If you have a removable retainer, keep a container with you when you are out and about so that you have a place to store your retainer if you need to remove it. If you do take your retainer out, make sure that you know where it is and that you take it with you, since it will be expensive to replace.

If you are considering braces or if your dentist has suggested you need them, our orthodontist, Dr. James B. Macomson would love to see you for an exam and a consultation. You can reach James B. Macomson, DDS, MSO, PA in Gastonia, North Carolina at to schedule an appointment.