After your braces are removed, you will have lifelong benefits from orthodontic treatment if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
You will receive retainers to stabilize the dental corrections after your active orthodontic appliances (braces) are taken off. It’s very important that your retainers are worn as instructed since the bones and soft tissues surrounding the teeth continue to stabilize for several months after braces. If you fail to wear the retainers, you might experience undesirable movement of the teeth, which could mean you need to be re-treated and have braces put back on.
How retainers are worn
At Valley Orthodontic Group, we feel that individuals who have experienced orthodontic treatment should wear retainers indefinitely because teeth can continue to move throughout life. We even go as far as to say that a patient should wear their retainers all the time for the first year after the removal of braces.
After about one year, the patient can cut back to wearing the retainer at night only. This will allow one’s wisdom teeth to develop (if the patient has them) without ruining the patient’s aligned, beautiful smile. Dr. Grob will see patients every 6 to 9 months post-braces to be able to monitor wisdom teeth development and also take X-rays every 1.5 years.
Once a decision is made on whether or not to remove wisdom teeth, patients can wear retainers one night a week at the minimum. This is due to the fact that, as one gets older, the muscles surrounding the teeth will tighten and place pressure on the teeth causing them to crowd or move so the retainer continues to help keep the teeth in position.
How to care for retainers
- Retainers should be kept away from dishwashers, heaters, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº) because they are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to high temperatures.
- When you aren’t wearing your retainer, it should be stored in the proper retainer case.
- Pets tend to like chewing on retainers so keep them away from any family pets.
- Always clean your retainers before and after use since the material they are made from is slightly porous so plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. You can remove any built up plaque by gently scrubbing with a toothbrush and mild liquid soap. Soaking retainers in denture cleaning solutions, like Efferdent tablets, can help remove plaque and tartar, too. Make sure to thoroughly rinse retainers after cleaning to ensure any cleanser residue isn’t left behind.
Retainers might need to be replaced periodically since they are worn for years. You will get one set of retainers after braces are removed that are included under your treatment contract. If the retainers are damaged or lost due to neglect, we will charge for replacement. If the retainers break or become loose, contact our office immediately for repair.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
Bonded wire should stay on your teeth forever. The only exception would be if your family dentist determines it is not being kept clean and/or it’s beginning to cause bone or gum issues. If this happens and the wire is removed, you should have it replaced with a removable retainer. You can then consult Dr. Grob for instructions on use. Just like a removable retainer, the fixed wire’s goal is to protect the teeth as you get older and the facial muscles tighten. Your family dentist should monitor your bonded wire at all of your six-month check ups.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Grinding and/or clenching of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, abnormal tongue posture, or low tongue posture
- Playing a musical instrument with a reed (like a clarinet or saxophone)
- Lip sucking
- Pencil or pen biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
At Valley Orthodontic Group, our goal is to help your smile stay healthy and beautiful for your lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in achieving this goal.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings
When braces are taken off and retainers are being worn, the patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures like brushing and flossing at home. We highly recommend seeing your family dentist every six months at the minimum for dental examinations and cleaning.