Once orthodontic treatment has been completed, it is very important to hold the position of your teeth and bite with retainers. Whether you are a patient at our Sudbury or Mississauga location, Dr. Virdee will always give you two types of retainers. Most patients have invested a lot of money in orthodontic care. Using retainers after braces is an important part of the treatment and is meant to ensure a lifetime of happy and straight smiles.
Why are retainers important after orthodontic treatment?
Teeth have a tendency to shift back into their previous, pre-treatment position because the periodontal fibres (the fibres that join the teeth to the bone) have memory. When left alone, the memory of these fibres will make the teeth move into their original positions. In addition, if excessive tooth movement was produced during treatment, the bone is likely not fully healed. Retainers hold the position of the teeth while the bone heals around the teeth so there is less chance of movement
What type of retainers are there?
Fixed or Wire Retainers.
Once you have finished your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Virdee and her staff will bond or install a wire behind your teeth that is held in place by small “buttons” of resin (dental cement) on each tooth. This type of retainer usually extends between the canines in the lower jaw and between the lateral incisors (second teeth from the centre) in the upper jaw. Adult patients and responsible teens do have the option of declining the placement of fixed or wire retainers with the knowledge that they must wear their removable retainer exactly as prescribed by Dr. Virdee.
In addition to fixed or wire retainers, we also provide you with a removable retainer that is to be worn nightly. These retainers are made by taking moulds or impressions of your teeth and act as a back up so that if your wire or fixed retainers break or bend, the removable retainers will still be able to hold the position of the teeth until you see us for an emergency visit. If you stop wearing your removable retainers, they will eventually stop fitting around your teeth which means that these retainers cannot be used as a back up when the wire or fixed retainers break. Therefore, if you cannot make it into our office to have your wires repaired in time, your teeth are liable to shift.
Types of Removable Retainers:
Dr. Virdee typically decides which removable retainer you will receive. Most patients receive an Essex retainer following treatment as it minimizes tooth movement after treatment better than Hawley retainers. However, there are cases where we actually want the back teeth to move and settle with each other. In this case you will be prescribed a Hawley retainer.
- Made of coloured or clear acrylic
- Retained by clasps around your teeth
- Used in cases where the bite needs to settle after orthodontic treatment
- Also called Trutain retainers
- Virtually clear
- Hug all the teeth to minimize any shifting
- Used when bite is fully settled after orthodontic treatment
How long are my fixed or wire retainers in place for?
Once the wire retainers start degrading and falling apart, we usually recommend removing them. This usually happens at around the 2-4 year mark after removal of the braces. By this time, your teeth should be stable and less likely to shift. Ultimately, if left over a long period of time, fixed or wire retainers aren’t great for your dental health. They make flossing and cleaning difficult, the dental cement can get stained, or decay can creep up around the cement if it is not well maintained by regular visits to the dentist. Once the fixed retainers are removed, you can continue wearing your removable retainer at night.
How long do I have to wear my removable retainers for?
Retention is for life! Remember, teeth have memory and can shift to their original positions over time. For the first year after the braces are removed, we recommend wearing retainers nightly. After that you can reduce your retainer wear by one night every year. This means that in your second year, you would wear your removable retainer every second night, the third year every third night and so on and so forth until you are wearing the retainers once per week at night! If the retainers feel tight from time to time, you are more than welcome to wear them more often.
How do I care for my fixed retainers?
Fixed or wire retainers can be cleaned by brushing and flossing regularly. When you are at the dentist, your hygienist will take extra care at also cleaning in and around your wire retainers. Unfortunately, these retainers are prone to breakage so you have to be careful not to eat hard foods or bite into objects such as pencils and ice cubes which result in breakage of the resin buttons from the teeth. You must also be careful with your flossing technique – never pull the floss in a way that puts force on the retainer as this can bend or dislodge the retainer from the teeth. If this does happen, continue wearing your removable retainers to prevent any shifting of the teeth and call our office!
How do I care for my removable retainers?
- Brush them regularly with a tooth brush
- Do not use toothpaste
- To remove bacteria, soak in Listerine or vinegar and water
- Polident can be used to help minimize build up of tarter
- Do not boil your retainers or wash them in the dishwasher – this will cause them to distort
- Bring your retainers to our office to have them professionally cleaned
- Always store in a retainer case to prevent loss or damage of the retainers
What if my retainers are lost or broken?
If you loose or break your fixed or removable retainers, please contact our office as soon as possible. We see our patients for retainer maintenance for one year after the completion of active orthodontic treatment. Once this has been completed, we will see you on a need to basis if and when there are issues or problems with your retainers.
Retainers are the last phase in our orthodontic treatment. Whether you are a patient at our Sudbury or Mississauga offices, we ensure that your retainers are doing their job and your smile lasts you a lifetime. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your retainers, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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