Once the active phase of your orthodontic treatment is finished, it is finally time to have your braces removed and show off your newly perfected smile. While this is a very exciting time, it is important to remember that there remains a final stage of orthodontic treatment, the retention phase. Without paying proper attention to this phase, your teeth will likely begin to shift back into their original positions. Since orthodontic treatment requires both significant time and financial commitment, having your teeth move again would be very disappointing. This is where retainers come in.
Custom made devices designed to hold your teeth in place after finishing orthodontic treatment. There are two basic types: removable or bonded (fixed) retainers. Some orthodontic treatment may require using both types. You will be able to decide with your orthodontist which option will work best for you.
A thin piece of metal wire that gets bonded directly to the back of your front teeth.
- Suitable for patients that may not wear their removable retainers as recommended by the orthodontist.
- They remain in place 24 hours a day.
- Since they are bonded to the lingual (back side) of the front teeth, they are not visible to others.
- Difficult to keep clean and prone to plaque and tartar accumulation.
- Will need to floss under the wire using Superfloss or floss threaders which may be inconvenient for some patients.
- Since they are bonded only to the front teeth, they do not prevent the back teeth from shifting.
- May need maintenance at times. The lingual wire could break or come loose and require a visit to the dental office to fix.
Custom-fit retainers that are made from plastic or a combination of plastic and metal wires.
- Easier to keep clean than a fixed retainer.
- Can be worn and removed at will.
- Keeps all the teeth in place, not only the front teeth.
- Effectiveness is based on compliance with wearing them.
- Could get lost or damaged and need new ones made.
- Teeth can shift if not worn for a period and retainers may no longer fit.
If you are nearing the end of your orthodontic treatment, you are probably thinking of how best you can protect your investment. Retainers will preserve the smile you always wanted. You and your orthodontist or dentist can discuss your options and come to a decision that will best suit you and your lifestyle. Call us now for more information.