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Many people with crooked or misaligned teeth want to know whether or not a retainer can help straighten their teeth. It’s a question that dentists in San Diego, La Jolla, and Encinitas have all been asked more than a few times over the years. And the consensus among these dental practitioners is that retainers can help in this regard but only when used in conjunction with traditional braces or clear aligners. In short, braces and aligners do the proverbial heavy lifting when it comes to straightening an individual’s teeth. Retainers, on the other hand, keep them from shifting back to their previous location, according to dentists in La Jolla, dentists in San Diego, and dentists in beautiful Solana Beach, including Solana Family Dental.

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Dentists With La Costa Dental and Solana Family Dental Weigh In on the Role of Retainers


To appreciate why nearly all dentists in La Jolla, San Diego, Solana Beach, and elsewhere say retainers help keep teeth straight rather than straightening them, we should probably take a moment to familiarize ourselves with these dental appliances. Essentially, retainers are custom-made, wire-based dental appliances that individuals wear at night to keep their teeth aligned after their braces come off. Dentists will generally instruct patients to wear them until the bones supporting their teeth have hardened and have permanently set into their new position. On average, this entire process takes about 2 to 3 years.


Dentists in San Diego and Dentists in La Jolla Explain How Retainers Work


Retainers prevent newly-aligned teeth from shifting, say practitioners with La Costa Dental. While this is easy for most people to wrap their heads around, the way they work is not as easily understood. There are two types of dental retainers, removable and permanent. And dentists will determine which is appropriate for their patients based on several factors, including how crooked or misaligned their teeth were before getting braces or getting started with clear aligners. According to dentists in San Diego and dentists in La Jolla, two cells immediately go to work to help bones, and the teeth they support, stay put after they get moved to a new location via braces or aligners. These cells are called osteoclasts and osteoblasts, and they each help build and reinforce the bones in the jaw; however, the process can take months or even years. For this reason, dentists will instruct patients to wear retainers to keep bones in the jaw from moving while osteoclast and osteoblast cells do their job.


Bottom Line


Custom-made dental retainers don’t straighten teeth on their own, but they do, however, play a critical role when it comes to orthodontic treatments, say dentists with La Costa Dental.  And the same is echoed by other leading dental practices in San Diego County, including Solana Family Dental, a general and cosmetic dental practice located in Solana Beach, California.  To learn more about why retainers are critical to the success of any orthodontic treatment, consider scheduling an appointment with La Costa Dental, Solana Family Dental, or another dental practice in San Diego County today.