Having your braces removed is an exciting moment, but before you run off with your beautifully straight teeth. After the active orthodontic treatment period is complete and your braces have been removed, you will be given a retainer.
A retainer is used to hold teeth in their new positions while the jawbone, gums and muscles adapt it’s very important to know that without retainers teeth could move.
Why do teeth move after braces?
During orthodontic treatment, your teeth are held in position by your braces. Once they’re removed, stretched elastic fibres in the gum try to pull the teeth back to their original position – something we call “orthodontic relapse”. It takes time for these fibres to stop pulling on the teeth.
Continued growth of the jaws can also make teeth to move after the treatment completion. So it’s really important to wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist, otherwise your teeth may revert to their former positions
You’re most at risk of relapse just after your braces have been removed, then over time your teeth will begin to stabilise. This doesn’t mean you can stop wearing your retainer after a few months. To guarantee your teeth stay put, retainers are a lifelong commitment.
They’re both comfortable and discreet.
They resemble a thin, clear gumshield, which fits over your teeth to keep them still.
Your removable retainers will be custom-made to fit you perfectly. We remove your braces and then we’ll take impressions of your teeth. In order to minimize any teeth movement, we fit your retainers the the same day as we remove your braces.
Your orthodontist or orthodontic therapist will advise you on how often you need to wear your removable retainers, in most cases you’ll only need to wear them at night. Keep them safe when you’re not wearing them – they do have a tendency to disappear.
Fixed Retainers (Bonded Retainers)
For extra peace of mind, fixed retainer is also available for our patients. These consist of a thin stainless steel wire, which is permanently bonded behind the front teeth. We usually fit your fixed retainers as soon as your braces are removed, before we take impressions for your removable retainers.
Fixed retainers are very unobtrusive and you’ll quickly forget they’re there. Just make sure you give them a little extra attention when you brush your teeth. We’ll show you the best techniques to clean your retainers.
When To Wear Your Retainer
Wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist. Most patients need to wear their retainer for most of the day (even while you are sleeping) in the first 10 days after getting their braces off. After that time period, most patients can wear the retainers just at night. The retainer should be removed for eating, swimming, and vigorous sporting activities.
Pain And Soreness
The retainer may make your teeth sore and you may even find that your speech is slightly altered for a few days. This is normal with a new retainer or after an adjustment and will resolve on its own. If you develop a sore spot on your gums, call our office so that we can adjust the retainer for better comfort.
Cleaning Your Retainer
Brush your retainer daily with soap and room temperature water. If needed, retainer cleaner (i.e. Retainer Brite or denture cleaning tablet) can be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you have a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be careful to clean it as well when brushing your teeth. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it.
How To Keep Your Retainer Safe
Because the retainer is removable, it should be taken out during meals and for cleaning. However, careful care should be taken not to lose your retainer. When eating meals, be sure to keep it in its case for safety. Never wrap the retainer in a napkin or store it in your pocket. Keep it away from dogs and cats, as they love to chew on these appliances. Please note: an additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken retainers.
Retainers Treatment Time
Retainer treatment time varies by patient. Some may even require permanent retention to keep teeth aligned properly. We will discuss this as part of your overall treatment plan.
Remember, your retainer can only work when you are wearing it! Please give us a call if you have any questions about retainer use.