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, all patients will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after treatment is complete, 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 for life. Following the removal of braces, our patients will wear retainers as directed by Dr. Meharg. After a limited period of full time wear, the patient can wear the retainers just at night.
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 hot areas like heaters, dishwashers or car dashboards.
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Retainers should be kept away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Retainers should be cleaned 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 will remove the plaque. A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, can aid in the removal of plaque and tartar.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes a 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)
We generally don’t use fixed retainers due to the difficulty in cleaning the teeth with them and the fact they will often break or come loose. In incidences when we do recommend them we will discuss in depth how to care for them and what maintenance entails.
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.