With the removal of the braces, the active part of the treatment ends. It's time for the retention phase. The preservation of the achieved results in the next few months is crucial. The length of the retention period is at least 2 times longer than the active period or it could be even indefinitely.
The retainer is designed to hold the teeth in their already corrected position until the bone surrounding their roots "forms" and makes the achieved result permanent. If the teeth are not retained after the end of the orthodontic treatment, they will move back to their original position and you risk undoing all of the good work your fixed braces did. Tooth migration is a part of a numerous aging processes that take place continuously in the human’s body. Therefore, regardless of whether the patient has undergone orthodontic intervention, the teeth continue to have natural mobility and a tendency to change their positions.
Retainers are two types: removable and fixed (glued). The choice of the most suitable retention appliance depends on the specific problem in the arrangement of the teeth that have been treated.
If you have removable retainers:
- Wear them for at least 10 hours each day, and after the first year you could wear them only at night when you go to bed.
- Always store them in their own box. Never wrap them in a tissue, as you risk throwing them away or losing them by mistake. Keep them out of reach of pets as they can easily become the 'perfect chewing toy'.
- Thoroughly clean the retainers once a day with a toothbrush and lukewarm (not hot) water. Cleansers such as Corega can also do the trick, but don't skip brushing.
- Retainers may make it difficult for you to speak at first. To get used to them faster, read and sing aloud. Within a few days, your speech will return to normal.
- Retainers are fragile, so handle them with care. If you damage or lose them, contact your orthodontist immediately.
- With proper use, retainers can stay in good condition for years. However, keep in mind that they "depreciate" and will most likely need to be replaced at some point.
- Remember that if retainers are not used correctly and you are not serious about wearing them, teeth will shift.
- Even after the braces are removed, appointments with your orthodontist will continue, but will be much less frequent. Do not underestimate the importance of check-up visits and always bring the retainers with you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, please contact me accordingly. If the retainers need adjustment, please do not attempt to handle the repair yourself, as this could make their condition worse. Please, do not hesitate to get in touch with me or any member of my team.
If you have fixed retainers:
Fixed retainers tend to retain more plaque, especially in the area where they are glued, therefore they require more effort while cleaning of the teeth. Don't forget to floss, brush, or douche. Biting hard foods such as an apple is not permitted, as it poses a risk of ungluing. Retention check-ups are done at the 1st, 3rd and 6th month and then every year to make sure everything is in order.
If you notice any shifting, breakage or loosening of the retainer, inform your orthodontist immediately so they can take care of the problem.