If your teeth have shifted since your teenage years, and you're starting to think you might need to wear braces as an adult – perhaps for the second time - fear not. You'll be happy to know one of the most common methods for re-aligning slightly crooked teeth isn't braces at all - it's a cosmetically unobtrusive spring retainer.
Why You Might Need BracesWhether or not you've worn braces previously, most people are familiar with what a retainer is, and the purpose behind wearing one. After all, it’s fairly safe to assume that at one point in our teenage lives, we all knew someone who wore a retainer – and likely tossed it into the lunchroom trashcan a few times as well. What many incorrectly assume, though, is that retainers only come into play after having worn braces for a few years. Thankfully, for adults with a few teeth to straighten, that's not the case. A spring retainer is a pretty simple device. Its role is simply to apply force to your teeth so they can be aligned correctly. As a result, they can be worn by anyone with a need to straighten their teeth. Wearing braces is not a prerequisite.
Spring retainers are made from a variety of materials, and can be purchased with the traditional support wire that straddles the front of one's teeth, or with a clear plastic front-piece for a more cosmetic effect. For a retainer to produce the results you desire, however, the same rules apply as they did when you were a kid – you've got to wear it, and you've got to listen to your dentist. Correcting misaligned teeth, and keeping them straight, requires vigilance and a good routine, and it's the only way to get sustained results. In fact, for many people, not wearing a retainer the right way in the past is likely to be the reason they need to wear one again as an adult!
Mildly crooked teeth are something many of us deal with in the decades following our teen years – even if we didn't wear braces when younger. Rest assured, there are plenty of solutions these days that can correct misalignment, and help get your smile back to straight again.