The Journey to your Forever Smile
You’ve worked hard for your beautiful Forever Smile and the day has finally come. You are getting your braces off! But instead of looking at this as the long-awaited end to the expedition through braces… what’s that? A retainer! There’s more?
As a Forever Smiles patient you have likely heard us talk about retainers throughout our treatment and why they are so important after treatment. Think of it like settling in after a long trip. Your teeth aren’t the only things we move when you’re wearing braces. Your teeth are held in place by elastic ligaments that hold the root in the socket. During orthodontic treatment, the force of moving your teeth over time means new ligaments and sometimes bone are formed. These new connective tissues and bone need time to stabilize. Enter the retainer.
There are two types of retainers – fixed and removable. Fixed retainers are made of a very thin, but durable piece of wire that fits along the lingual (backside) surface of the teeth. Spanning across several teeth, the wire is affixed on each side with bond and in that way is most like braces. Also like braces, fixed retainers require greater care to keep clean.
Removable retainers are easy to wear, make it easier to clean your teeth, and are typically most preferred by patients and orthodontists alike. Similar in look to Invisalign, removable retainers are awesome because you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth. However, just like clear aligners they only work if you wear them. In the way that every patient has different requirements in orthodontic treatment, Dr. Razdolsky will prescribe the course of retainer therapy that best suits you. Just be sure to stick to it to ensure the long-term effects of your orthodontic treatment.
Most patients begin by wearing removable retainers more often, then gradually wean off them over time up to the age of 26 – the age where the typical biological response to force and movement decreases, and the long-awaited trip is over. Your teeth have settled in.
Because these types of retainers are removable, and the duration you will need them long, you will need to be careful with them. Removable retainers are easier to lose or become damaged, in which case there is a charge for replacement.
Remember, braces are only the first step in your journey towards a beautiful Forever Smile. Maintaining your new smile is every bit as important as creating it, so understanding the importance of retainers to the long-term success of treatment is a critical final step in what has been a “wander-fully” long trip.