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, the patient will receive retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, 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 are prone to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic treatment should wear their retainers indefinitely. Retainers are worn full time at first and then, after a certain amount of time, as instructed by Dr. Picard depending on the case, only at night. It’s important that retainers are worn at night for life because as we get older, the muscles that surround our teeth apply pressure, causing them to move or crowd.
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 heaters, dishwashers, car dashboards or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees (Fº).
- Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient’s mouth.
- Keep away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them.
- Clean 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 and a mild liquid soap will remove the plaque. A retainer cleaning solution, such as Polident for Retainers, will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar. Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.
Because retainers are worn for years, they will need periodic replacement. Your original treatment contract includes one 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, call to book an appointment to get your retainer replaced as soon as possible.
Fixed retainers (Bonded Wire)
This wire should stay on for life. The fixed lingual wire will protect your teeth from moving as you get older and your facial muscles get tighter. Please have this wire monitored by your family dentist at your six-month check-ups. The only exception to wearing this wire for life, is if a patient’s family dentist says it needs to be removed because it’s not being kept clean and is beginning to cause gum or bone problems If this should occur, please have the wire removed and be sure to have it replaced with a removable retainer. The removable retainer should then be worn as instructed by Dr. Picard.
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 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.
Customize your retainer
Many children customize their retainers with fun colours, symbols or images! From soccer to Justin Bieber’s face, the options are endless with customizing your retainer to make orthodontics fun!