The benefits of orthodontic treatment will last a lifetime if you keep these important patient responsibilities in mind:
Dental examinations and cleanings
The patient should continue with proper oral hygiene procedures at home, to include thorough brushing and flossing techniques. The patient should be seen by his or her family dentist at least every six months for cleaning and dental examinations.
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
A patient should wear retainers full time following the removal of braces. After a period of time, to be determined by the doctor, the patient can wear the retainer just at night. As you get older, the muscles that surround your teeth will get tighter and place pressure on your teeth, causing them to move or crowd. Because teeth can continue to move throughout life, we feel that individuals who have undergone orthodontic therapy should wear retainers indefinitely.
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 there is excessive temperature. Retainers should be kept in the proper retainer case when they are not in the patient's mouth. They should also be kept away from any family pets, as they like to chew on them. Retainers should be cleaned 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 denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, 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, contact our office immediately.
Habits or Conditions that Require Stronger Retention
Our goal is to help your smile stay beautiful and healthy for a lifetime. Your cooperation is essential in order to achieve this goal.