Retention starts once your braces are removed and it is as important as the active part of treatment. Once your teeth are straight, your new beautiful smile needs to be maintained. The oral cavity is a dynamic environment and it is constantly changing through life and they are at high risk of moving back towards their original position. Therefore, your recently acquired smile needs to be reinforced and stabilised with retainers which will hold your teeth in place.
Why retention is necessary?
- The tissues that hold your teeth in place (Bone, ligament and gum) are affected by orthodontic tooth movement and require time to reorganise to the new position once the appliances are removed
- The teeth may be in an inherently unstable position after treatment, so that soft tissue pressure constantly influences teeth’s tendency to move back
- Changes produced by growth may alter the orthodontic treatment result
Removable retainers are appliances designed to hold your teeth in place and they can be removed any time. They are usually worn full time for a short period of time, to later change to night time only use. All our patients will receive a removable retainer at the end of their orthodontic treatment
Fixed retainers consist of a thin wire bonded to back surface of your six front teeth, so they are not visible. They are comfortable and with adequate brushing and flossing they do not cause tooth or gum disease. It is a permanent retainer as it cannot be removed on every day basis, but it may be removed by the orthodontist or dentist at any time if desired
How long do I need to wear my retainers for?
Retainers are to be worn for as long as you want your teeth to remain perfect! However the amount of time you need to wear them will decrease progressively.
Long-term retainer wear is the only way to ensure your teeth remain in position.
Initially, removable retainers must be worn full-time, apart from:
- During meals
- Tooth brushing
- Contact sports
The orthodontist will provide further instructions as to when to start wearing them at nights only. Your speech may sound awkward at first. Don’t panic!! Just practice reading aloud, it will help to improve your pronunciation. You may have more saliva in your mouth than normal, this will stop as you become used to your retainer.
Removable retainers will be issued even if fixed retainers are present. In this case, the removable retainers are only worn at night time from the first day.