Braces create a beautiful smile, but the retainer maintains it. It holds teeth in their new positions after completing “active” orthodontic treatment. This allows newly formed bone to harden around the teeth. Once your braces come off, your teeth need to settle into the jawbone and soft tissue that hold them in place otherwise teeth have a tendency to shift back to their original position. Wearing retainers as instructed is also key to maintaining the success of orthodontic treatment. Hence, we advise patients to wear them full-time for the first six months after “active” treatment ends, with subsequent wear time reduced to night-time only. When not in the mouth, patients should keep their removable retainers in their case.
The appropriate type for you will depend upon the specifics of your treatment and your age. When Dr. Elfersi will discuss your options at the end of your treatment, you will have a choice between the several types below.
Metal removable retainers are the most common type and have a design that consists of wires and clasps. The clasps grasp selected teeth while anchoring the retainer. The retaining “bow” wire arches across the front side of the your teeth and holds and also maintain their alignment.
These retainers are clear plastic vacuum-formed appliances made by taking a cast of your teeth. Although they are slightly less noticeable, they don’t have the life span of the metal ones.
Fixed retainers are also referred to as “bonded” or “permanent”. These types of appliances go directly to the backsides of the front teeth. They do not touch or hold the back teeth. Since they are attached to your teeth, they cannot be removed, the obvious benefit is that you can neither lose them nor forget to wear them.
The fact is that you are the person in charge of keeping your teeth straight. How do you do this? By wearing your retainers! It will preserve the results you and your orthodontist achieved through treatment. It will be easier if you make it a habit like brushing your teeth before bed. Here are some tips to help you with children or teenagers alike.
Call us right away if you have misplaced your retainer or feel discomfort.