The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you understand the importance of the retention phase of your treatment!
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.
How retainers are worn
Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.
A patient should wear retainers all the time for 6months following the removal of braces.
After approximately 6 months, the patient can wear the retainer just at night until a majority of the patient’s growth has stopped.
Dr. Khan always says, “retainers are for life.” This is because, as you get older, the jaws continue to grow and the muscles that surround your teeth will get tighter and place pressure on your teeth, causing them to move or crowd. Wearing your retainer once a week will prevent relapse of your teeth from occurring.
In addition to checking your retainers, Dr. Lubna Khan will see you at six months intervals to make recommendations on the wisdom teeth.
How to care for retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be kept in it’s case!
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to use them as a chew toy!
- Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild antibacterial liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar but should not be used daily because it will weaken your retainers. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
- If you have any questions about your retainer, or believe it needs to be adjusted, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to each appointment.
- Retainer replacements can become expensive! Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. It is therefore imperative that you take good care of your retainers. If the retainers are lost or damaged, please contact our office immediately!
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist says you are not keeping it clean and it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems. If this should occur, please have the wire removed. You will need to have it replace with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Khan prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing a musical instruments with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Dental examinations and cleanings
Proper oral hygiene should still be a priority once you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment. In addition to maintaining proper oral hygiene procedures at home, like thorough brushing and flossing, you should visit your dentist at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.