Having a winning smile is priceless, right? We certainly think so. After having Orthodontic treatment, such as Braces or Invisalign, keeping your teeth perfectly in place into the future is as important as your active treatment phase. To help prevent unwanted movement of your teeth in the future, your post-treatment plan will involve the use of a retainer.
Why Is Wearing A Retainer Important?
Over time, changes happen naturally to our bodies as part of ageing. The positions of our teeth may also change as part of this process, regardless of whether Orthodontic treatment has been undertaken. The stability of the position of your teeth is sometimes hard to predict, which is particularly the case in the lower anterior or front segment of your teeth. Your lower teeth have a general tendency to upright and tilt back, with time, or in other words, crowd up in their position without good retention.
Severely rotated or twisted teeth, that have been straightened after Orthodontic treatment are more prone to returning to their pretreatment positions.
Therefore, after having your teeth straightened, it is imperative to have a well fitted, bonded retainer. This retainer is best kept in position for as long as possible and where tolerable bonded permanently.
Types of Retainers After Braces
To maintain the strenuous task of making your teeth straight, it is imperative to have a well-fitted retainer. The most common types of post-Orthodontic treatment retainers are the Bonded Retainer and Clear Removable Retainer.
The bonded retainer is a very discreet wire that is customised to fit the back of your upper and lower six to eight teeth. As the most common long-term/permanent, post-treatment retainer, it isn’t just any wire. At ethos, we use Beta Titanium or TMA wire which is made up of Titanium and Molybdenum. This retainer is bio-compatible and easily formed to fit the intimate contours behind your teeth, making it perfect for long term teeth retention.
You may be asking yourself, won’t it be uncomfortable? And yes, at first it may feel a little unusual, however, within a few days it will feel very smooth and you will soon forget it’s there. The wires are specially bonded to ensure there are no interruptions to your bite and to allow for good gingival hygiene measures to be maintained.
Clear Removable Retainers
On occasions, removable retainers are provided in addition or as a preference following your Orthodontic care. Your Orthodontist will advise you when these retainers are necessary. Provision of clear removable retainers is commonly issued in circumstances when teeth have been required to be removed for Orthodontic purposes or for individuals that have had an ‘open bite’ prior to Orthodontic treatment.
Due to their removable nature, it is important to wear them as directed to ensure the long-term stability of your smile.
How To Maintain A Retainer?
Cleaning around your retainers is a learned process. The use of dental floss (image 1) is assisted by the use of the ‘floss threader’ which allows you to thread the floss under the retainer. Alternatively, super floss can be used which has a stiffened end which may be easier to use than regular floss. Interdental brushes, the smallest size possible (image 2), can also be a convenient way to clean under a bonded retainer. Interdental brushes might be a little tighter to clean with between the teeth contacts than using floss.
All measures take some patience to learn, but with time and patience can be incorporated into your usual home oral hygiene regime.
What Happens If My Retainer Breaks?
Occasionally bonded wires can partially or completely detach and you will need to visit the Orthodontic practice to repair or replace your bonded wire. If you were provided with a clear removable retainer and it shows signs of significant wear or is split, you may require replacement. Any breaks or concerns with your retainer is best checked at the practice as soon as possible to ensure the longevity of your straight teeth.
Your journey to straight teeth doesn’t end at braces. Wearing and maintaining your retainer will help ensure your teeth remain breathtaking long into the future. If you have any questions or concerns about post-treatment Orthodontic retainers, the ethos Orthodontics team is here to help.