What happens after Orthodontic Treatment? Retention, Retention, Retention!
Once we’ve done our part to give you a beautiful smile, then it’s over to you to maintain this wonderful result. This is done through what is called ‘retention’.
As we get older, our teeth want to move forwards, a process called Mesial Migration. To prevent this, it’s crucial that you maintain your perfect smile by wearing retainers after your braces have been removed.
The retention phase is important in preserving your beautiful smile and requires you to wear retainers for a period of approximately 24 months to give you the best long-term stability. Retainers hold the teeth in their new positions while the bone stabilises around the roots and it’s normal for teeth to feel mobile in the initial retention period while the bone is stabilising.
Retainers can be either fixed or removable and we will prescribe the most appropriate retainer to suit your individual case.
Types of Retainers
Essix retainers are clear removable retainers that mould over your teeth and cover the entire arch of the teeth. You can hardly notice you’re wearing them. Another benefit is that they encourage good dental hygiene because you can take them out when you brush and floss, and clean the retainer itself at the same time.
Vivera retainers are custom-made for Invisalign patients with the same state-of-the-art technology used to make Invisalign aligners. Because the retainers are custom made from a scan of your teeth, you will benefit from a precise, and therefore more comfortable, fit. With Vivera retainers you will also get three retainers, so that if one gets lost or damaged you can have it replaced with a fresh new retainer.
Fixed Lingual Bar
A fixed lingual bar is a wire that is glued behind the upper and lower front teeth, commonly the front 4-6 teeth. The fixed wire is great for retaining the front teeth and is easy to keep clean with regular oral hygiene and maintaining regular visits to the general dentist.
The Hawley retainer is also a removable retainer that is very durable and can last a long time. The Hawley retainers are handmade in a lab using acrylic and wire that fit snugly in the correct position over your teeth, which will help your teeth stabilise in their new positions once your braces have been removed.
Maintain regular check-up and cleans with your general dentist
It is important that you contact your general dentist to arrange for a dental examination after your braces/attachments are removed. We will communicate with your dentist who will monitor the fixed retainer (if applicable). Your dentist will also receive a copy of the latest x-ray taken in our office in order to monitor wisdom teeth. If your wisdom teeth are still present, it is important your general dentist review them, as they can undo all the hard work and time invested in your new smile.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last you a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind. Here are some instructions/tips to keep your smile looking great!
- Don’t worry: your speech will return to normal after a few days. After a few days of wearing your retainer, you will grow accustom to your bite.
- By not wearing your retainers as often as instructed, you are increasing your chance that your teeth will begin to shift.
- Use your fingers to insert your retainer; do not bite it into place. This too could cause damage to the retainer.
- When removing your retainer, work with your finger nail around the back molars first, and then gently pull the retainer off, holding it at both sides.
- Never use a napkin to store your retainer. This is the number one way retainers are lost or broken.
- Always use your case. Retainers are fragile so keeping them in the case not only helps to avoid losing them but it also protects them.
- Never leave your retainer on a plate while eating out. It can easily be lost.
- Do not expose your retainers to heat (i.e. boiling water, microwave, hot car, etc.) as they are sensitive to heat and may distort.
- Keep your retainers away from your pets, especially dogs, as they love to chew on them.
- Remove your retainers to brush your teeth.
- Be sure to pay close attention to the inside surfaces of your teeth while brushing.
- Be sure to clean your retainers using mild hand soap and a spare toothbrush. You may use a denture cleanser, but never overnight.
- Regular dental visits are always important. Be sure to maintain your regular dental check-ups. If you need any dental work done (such as fillings) during retention please contact our office to make arrangements for a new clear retainer (fees may apply) as any change to the shape of your teeth after dental work could stop it from fitting properly.