Upon completion of braces treatment, appliances are removed and the teeth polished. However the orthodontic treatment is certainly not complete. As the teeth are part of the body’s biological system, there can be a natural tendency for teeth to move once braces are removed.
This is termed “Orthodontic Relapse”. To guard against relapse occurring, it is extremely important that there is an understanding about the need for a retention phase of treatment immediately following removal of braces. This period of retention is critical to ensure that your teeth will look as good in years to come, as they do on the day your braces are removed. A retention program is individually tailored for each patient, which usually involves wearing either removable retainers and/or fixed wires. These retention appliances are designed simply to hold the teeth in place once braces are removed and are generally very simple to wear and maintain.
Keeping the retainers either in the mouth or in their case will avoid loss and/or damage. Cleaning the retainer with cold water and toothpaste periodically will help keep it fresh and occasionally soaking the retainers in steradent or a bicarbonate paste during the day will also help them keep their clear, natural looking appearance and prevent any odours. Never place your retainers under hot water as they may become distorted and require replacements at an additional charge.
Be Careful of putting retainers in your pocket where it might get misplaced or damaged. When your retainers are not being worn, they are to be kept in the retainer box that you are supplied. This prevents pets finding the retainers and causing damage.
In the case of a lost or broken retainer, please contact the practice to organise a replacement. When the first set of retainers is issued, retainer moulds are given to the patient in case of loss of retainers in the future. The moulds, as long as they are not broken or chipped, can be used to remake new retainers. If you have misplaced the moulds, an appointment will need to be scheduled with the orthodontist to take some impressions to create new retainers.
During treatment you will also need to keep up your regular appointments with your general dentist. You may experience some build up of calculus, so it’s important you have your general dentist scale and clean your teeth when required which is generally every six months.
During the retention stage, the issue of wisdom teeth is usually addressed. If these teeth are not able to erupt comfortably, it can cause pressure on the newly straightened teeth causing them to move unfavourably. If an Xray indicates that this is the case, arrangements will be made to have them removed by either your general dentist or an oral surgeon before they cause any problems.