For many people who have braces, a magical date looms large on the calendar. It’s the day when the braces come off and that beautiful smile is finally revealed.
It’s certainly an event to celebrate and at Norwest we revel in the big reveal just as much as our clients.
However, it’s important to note that orthodontic treatment extends beyond the removal of braces. If your braces are scheduled to come off, here’s an insight into what happens next.
The period after braces are removed is just as important as the initial braces treatment, as an orthodontist works to ensure teeth remain in their desired position.
To facilitate this, a retainer is often required. Retainers can take on a variety of forms, but the underlying ethos is always the same. They are designed not to move your teeth, but keep them in the position achieved with braces.
In other words, braces or clear aligners will create a beautiful smile, but it takes a retainer to ensure that smile lasts long into the future.
Types of retainers
Retainers fall into two categories; fixed and removable, and the option selected by your orthodontist will depend on which teeth need to be kept in position or the likelihood of them moving.
Fixed retainers involve the use of a thin custom-fitted wire that is adhered to the back of teeth. They are entirely invisible to others and can be applied to the upper or lower jaw.
Removable retainers are specifically crafted for each individual. Some removable retainers comprise of a wire that sits on the outside of the teeth and a plastic component that fits the inner mouth.
Other removable retainers can also take the form of invisible retainers that look much like Invisalign. In this case the retainer is clear and fits the teeth. Most patients are advised to wear their removable retainer during sleeping hours.
The importance of regular wear
We cannot stress enough how important it is to wear a retainer as advised. Although retainers are not actively shifting teeth, they ensure the teeth remain in position.
Retainers are used for two reasons: to allow bone to rebuild after your teeth have moved, and to keep individual teeth from moving.
Like any orthodontic appliance, wearing a retainer requires professional monitoring, a commitment to good oral hygiene and an element of care.
Cleaning – Your removable retainer should receive the same cleaning attention as your teeth. That means it should be cleaned and rinsed regularly. Norwest Orthodontics will advise you as to which is the most appropriate cleaning method for your type of retainer.
If you have a fixed retainer, the attention to detail that was required when wearing braces continues. You should be sure to clean the area regularly with the right toothbrush, and the right pressure.
Keep it safe – As removable retainers can be taken out, they are a more prone to accidents, mishaps and breakages if not stored correctly.
Always keep your retainer in its container when you take it out. Keep your retainer in a safe place and do not subject it to too much heat by leaving it in the sun, running it under scalding hot water or placing it in the dishwasher!
Know when to take it out – Removable retainers should not be worn while eating or if drinking anything other than water.
Regular checkups – Like any part of the orthodontic process, wearing a retainer requires regular checkups. This allows Norwest to ensure the retainer is doing its desired job and that it is in good condition.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discrete, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.