The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Once the active orthodontic appliances are removed, the patient receives custom fitted retainers to stabilize the result. 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, there really is no “end point” to retainer wear. After the braces are removed, we create a vacuum formed retainer, designed to be worn full-time for three days and then just at night.
During the retention phase, Dr. Hage will see you every six to nine months. He will also make recommendations on the wisdom teeth (an updated panorex X-ray may be necessary).
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 are excessive.
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case.
- 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 washcloth and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution 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 there will be a nominal charge for replacement. If the retainers become loose or break, contact our office immediately.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
This wire should stay on forever. The only exception is if your family dentist believes you are not keeping it clean and may put you at risk for decay or periodontal issues. If this happens please have the wire removed and replace it with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as Dr. Hage prescribes. The fixed wire will protect the teeth as the patient gets older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check ups.
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, including thorough brushing and flossing techniques. His or her family dentist should see the patient at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.