Orthodontic treatments can offer lifetime benefits; however patients need to be aware of certain responsibilities.
After your orthodontic appliance has been removed, you’ll be given retainers which will stabilize your dental correction. Since the soft tissues and bone which surround your teeth are still stabilizing over the course of several months following removal of your braces, you’ll need to wear those retainers as instructed. If you don’t wear your retainers, your teeth may move again, and that may result in you needing more treatment.
How Do I Wear Retainers?
Since teeth move throughout your life, anyone who has received orthodontic treatment should wear their retainer indefinitely. Patients should certainly wear their retainer continuously for a year after their braces are removed. After this time, patients can start to only wear their retainer during the night. This allows wisdom teeth to grow without affecting their beautiful straight smile. Patients are seen every 6-9 months by their orthodontist so recommendations can be made about wisdom teeth. X-rays are taken every 18 months. After decisions have been made regarding wisdom teeth, the retainer still needs to be worn a minimum of one night a week. As you age, the muscles surrounding the teeth tighten and this puts pressure on the teeth resulting in movement or crowding.
How Do I Care For My Retainer?
A retainer is made from thermoplastic material which can be damaged by excess heat. This means you need to keep your retainer away from the car dashboard, dishwasher, heater or any location with a temperature exceeding 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should always keep your retainer in its proper case when not being worn, and ensure that it is kept out of reach of family pets who may chew it.
Clean your retainer after and before placing it in your mouth. Since the material which is used to make retainers is porous, plaque can cling onto the surface. Scrub your retainer gently with mild liquid soap and a toothbrush to remove it. Alternatively, you can use denture cleaning solutions to remove tartar and plaque, but rinse your retainer afterwards to ensure any residue is removed.
Since you’ll wear your retainer for years, it’ll need to be replaced periodically. Your treatment contract will include a single retainer for you to wear once your braces have been removed. Should you lose or damage your retainer, you’ll be charged extra for a replacement. If your retainer breaks or becomes loose, call us straight away.
If you have bonded wire retainers, the wire should remain on forever. There is an exception to this – if your dentist feels it’s starting to cause bone or gum problems, it can be removed and you can be given removable retainers instead which must be worn as prescribed. Fixed retainers protect your teeth as the muscles in your face get tighter as you age. The wire should be monitored at regular dental check-ups.
Conditions And Habits Which Need Stronger Retention
There are certain conditions and habits which mean you’ll need stronger retention. These include:
- Breathing through your mouth
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Abnormal or low tongue posture or tongue thrusting
- Lip sucking
- Playing reed musical instruments
- Pencil or pen biting
- Spaces between your teeth before treatment
- Teeth which are severely rotated
It’s our mission to help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for your whole life, but you need to cooperate with us if this goal is to be achieved.
Dental Cleanings And Examinations
You should always ensure you take good care with your oral hygiene at home, using thorough flossing and brushing techniques. You should also see your dentist every 6 months to have a dental examination and a clean.