The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Removable Orthodontic Retainers
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that the retainers are worn as instructed. Failure to wear the retainers may result in undesirable movement of the teeth, which could necessitate re-treatment.
How retainers are worn
Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely. Dr. Rajanna generally recommends that patients should wear retainers all the time for the first few months following the removal of braces. After this initial full time period, patients can usually switch to night time only retainer wear.
After the completion of your treatment, Dr. Rajanna will see you for several retention appointments to make recommendations on the wisdom teeth and ensure proper fit of retention appliances.
To prevent relapse of your misaligned teeth and bite, it is important that you continue to wear your retainer at least 2-3 nights per week. This is because, as you get older your teeth will drift forward causing them to move or crowd. Only consistent and regular wear of retention appliances can prevent this change.
How to care for retainers
- Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean before and after placement in the mouth. Because the material used for fabrication is slightly porous, plaque tends to cling to the surfaces. Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one set of retainers after the braces are removed. If the retainers are lost or damaged due to neglect, there will be a charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
Dr. Rajanna may have prescribed a fixed or bonded retainer as part of your retention plan. These are generally used when your particular condition (such as significantly crowded lower front teeth or a gap in the top teeth) is especially prone to relapse. This wire should stay on for as long as possible to hold your final results and can be repaired as needed in the event of breakage. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups. If your family dentist says you are not keeping the wire clean or it is beginning to cause gum or bone problems, it may need to be removed. If this should occur, please have the wire removed but continue to wear your removable retainer as prescribed.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
- Mouth breathing
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth (muscle hyperactivity)
- Tongue thrusting, low tongue posture or abnormal tongue posture
- Playing a musical instruments with a reed
- Lip sucking
- Pen or pencil biting
- Spacing between the teeth prior to treatment
- Severely rotated teeth
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.
Dental examinations and cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.