Retention is an essential part of orthodontic treatment, which is often overlooked by the patient.
Teeth will always tend to move, regardless of whether orthodontic treatment has been completed.
At the end of active orthodontic treatment, you will be given retainers to wear.
These retainers will hold the teeth in position. You may be fitted with a removable or fixed retainer, depending on your needs.
Over the next 2-3 years, after the braces have been removed, you will continue to have appointments with your orthodontist, so the stability of your teeth can continue to be monitored. Initially, the retainers will need to be worn full time for 3 months and after this time, if there has been no movement of the teeth, they can be worn during night-time only. The removal of third molars (wisdom teeth) does not influence the stability of teeth.
Lower anterior teeth have a higher tendency to crowd with age whether or not there has been orthodontic treatment. To ensure the retention of these a wire may be bonded to the inside of the lower front six teeth. This wire is a lot less bulky than traditional removable retainers and is not visible to other people.
The wire will be there for an indefinite time and may need maintenance in the future. However, if after the initial two-year retention phase, the patient wishes to have it removed, this can be done, and a removable retainer can be constructed for future long-term wear. To maintain the health of your gums and teeth, please ensure you have a regular scale and clean with your general dentist.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The duration of wearing fixed retainers after braces vary based on the individual’s orthodontic needs and the recommendation of the orthodontist. In general, fixed retainers are worn for at least one year, but some may need to wear them for a longer period. The orthodontist determines the length of time based on factors such as the severity of the initial orthodontic problem, the type of braces, and the patient’s age.
After getting a permanent retainer, maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding hard and sticky foods, attending follow-up appointments, wearing a mouthguard during sports, and alerting your orthodontist if there are any issues.
With a permanent retainer, it’s best to avoid hard and sticky foods, chew carefully, cut up hard foods, brush and floss regularly, and see your orthodontist regularly to ensure the retainer is functioning properly.