Once your braces come off, you want to do everything you can to keep your teeth straight and prevent them from drifting out of place. Your orthodontic provider will help you do this by creating a retainer that you will wear, which will stabilize the teeth and bone and extend the results of your treatment.
There are two types of retainers that orthodontic patients wear: removable and bonded. A removable retainer is an acrylic or wire tray that is worn around all of your teeth and helps reinforce their position over time, always guiding teeth into place when you wear it. A bonded retainer is a permanent retainer that consists of a smile wire that is cemented to the back of a limited number of the front teeth. Most people have these either between their top two front teeth, or behind their lower 6 front teeth. If your bonded retainer ever comes out, it is important for you to have it cemented back into place as soon as possible.
Your retainer should be kept clean and well cared for to extend the life of the appliance. Even patients that have had their braces off for over 10 years still find it necessary to rely on their removable retainers a few nights a month to secure their tooth alignment. Talk to your hygienist about the best way to keep your appliance clean and free of tartar buildup.
Ask your orthodontic provider about which type of retainer is the best option for you. For people that had significant misalignment or spacing concerns in the front teeth, a bonded retainer may be most appropriate to prevent relapse. Only you and your orthodontist can decide which is the best option for you individually.
Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental
It’s every orthodontic patient’s nightmare: having your teeth shift after getting your braces off. If you’re not careful, it can happen to almost anyone. Thankfully there are some important steps you can take to prevent this from happening, or catching it early enough before it causes significant issues related to your smile.
Wear your retainer. This seems obvious, but it is the most important step you can take to ensure that your teeth stabilize into their new position, and don’t rebound into the location where they were before your teeth were realigned. Every tooth is held into place by hundreds of tiny fibers. These fibers can flex and stretch, so some tooth movement may be obvious immediately after having your braces off.
Wearing your retainer every day helps these ligaments stabilize so that the teeth can permanently adjust into the ideal position that they have been moved into. As months and years pass by, you can find that wearing your retainer less frequently is still adequate for maintaining your smile. It should still remain readily accessible and worn on a fairly frequent basis.
If something breaks, or something moves, call your orthodontist immediately. A broken retainer, or a bonded retainer that has fallen off of a tooth is a perfect opportunity for teeth to slip out of place. Waiting weeks to call your orthodontist may be just what that tooth needs to go back into a misaligned position and not be able to be corrected without follow up orthodontics. Have your dentist repair or replace your appliance as soon as possible, so that your tooth can be protect or pushed gently back into place.
Keep an impression of your teeth. Dental impressions are great to have on hand if you lose your retainer and find that your teeth are slightly beginning to shift. Your dental impression is the closest thing you have to your perfect smile, and a new retainer can be made using these so that your smile can be guided back into place.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck
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