It is an exciting time when your braces finally come off – however this is also the most critical stage of your treatment. You will most likely be getting a wire on the lingual (tongue side) of your top and bottom teeth. This will help to prevent your anterior teeth from moving after you have completed orthodontic treatment.
Fixed retainers, also knows and bonded retainers or wire retainers are made of a small metal wire. The wire is approximately 1mm thick but can be smaller. The metal wire is glued on to your teeth with a special dental adhesive that creates tiny bumps behind your teeth.
There may be an adjustment period with these retainers as your tongue learns to eat and speak with them. Any discomfort or speech issues caused by tongue obstructions typically resolve themselves within a couple of days.
You need to brush your retainer just as you would your regular teeth to ensure it stays clean. Brush your teeth (on your tongue side) more carefully, and floss your teeth with a floss threader (or super floss) to keep your teeth and retainer free from plaque. Avoid biting into hard foods that put more force on your front teeth. It is always advisable to use your side teeth to chew.
Since the glue that is keeping your bonded retainer in place is not permanent it can easily break. Some examples of why these retainers break include: Flossing aggressively and tugging on the retainer while flossing, biting into foods that may break the retainers including apples, beagles and pizza, biting on pencils, playing with the retainers.
What happens if my fixed or bonded retainer breaks?
If your retainer breaks, there is a high chance that the teeth can shift. Because we always provide our patients with a removable retainer, we advise our patients to wear this retainer full time until you can see us to repair your fixed retainer.
If it has been over two years since the braces were taken off, Dr. Virdee may suggest removing the fixed retainers and relying on your removable retainers to maintain the position of the teeth. In this case, complying with instructions on how and when to wear your retainers is critical as the teeth can shift.
You can maintain the position of your teeth for a life time as long as you are wearing some type of retainer.