After investing in the time and treatment process of tooth realignment through orthodontic therapy, you’ll want to take extra care to maintain the results. Retainers play a key role in securing the position of the teeth, preventing them from relapse after the braces are taken off. There are removable retainers and fixed retainers, the latter that are retainers that are permanently bonded into place on the tongue side of front teeth.
Fixed retainers are typically placed on the lower anterior teeth, bonded on either end to the canine (eye) teeth, or onto each of the front teeth. It is made of a smooth, thin wire that uses the teeth against one another to prevent them from shifting out of place. Sometimes a fixed retainer may also be placed behind the upper two front teeth, especially when a large space was present between the teeth before treatment began, as those areas can relapse easily.
It’s important to leave these retainers in place as long as possible. Sometimes several years later, they may come loose or come off. If that happens, the retainer should be brought to the orthodontist or dental office as early as possible to have it bonded back into place. Even a month or two without the retainer can allow the teeth to shift out of place so that the retainer no longer fits.
Caring for your retainer is important to prevent tartar buildup that contributes to gum disease. Brush around the retainer twice a day and use a floss threader to weave floss underneath the appliance so that thorough plaque removal is achieved. Many people notice that tartar builds up quicker in these areas, so routine dental cleanings are important.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC
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