Now that the active phase of treatment is complete, your retainers will give your teeth the support they must have to remain in their new position until the bone has adapted. We have all worked hard to attain a good result and now the most important part of treatment is beginning.
The process of moving teeth orthodontically involves the breakdown and redeposition of bone. That is why your teeth have become loose and sensitive. This is normal, and it will take several months for the bone to completely reorganize and hold the teeth in their new positions.
Although wearing a retainer is simple, it is a very complex and powerful appliance. There are a variety of retainers, some are removable and some are fixed. We will provide the kind of retainer that best maintains the new position of your teeth.
In order to be effective, initially retainers must be worn at ALL TIMES except when brushing. Later, Dr. Batastini will tell you we you can reduce the number of hours you must wear your retainers each day and when they can be discontinued completely.
Initially we will see you relatively often to construct and place your retainers, and to make post treatment records which will include models and radiographs similar to those made at the beginning of treatment. The frequency of your visits will then decrease as the retention period progresses.
After one to three years of wearing retainers, the teeth are usually as permanent as can be expected. Any relapse after that time is due to natural causes and minor shifting is expected. Therefore, slight irregularity, particularly of the lower front teeth, may sometimes be accepted as the best for the particular circumstance.
If your retainers are to do their important job, you must do three things:
- Wear them as directed. — Retainers are effective only if you faithfully follow our instructions for wearing them. And remember they’re doing their jobs only when they’re in your mouth; not your pocket or purse.
- Keep them clean. — If you’ve been fitted with a removable retainer, it’s easy to clean when you take it out. We will show you how. If your retainer is attached to your teeth, it’s important to brush thoroughly after meals and clean under the wire with dental floss at least once a day. We will teach you how to care for your fixed retainer. If you can’t brush after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth out with water until you have a chance to brush thoroughly. Whether your retainer is fixed or removable, remember to see your dentist at least every six months for a cleaning.
- Handle them with care. — Remember, when your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be in its case for safety. Retainers are easier to lose than you think, and they are expensive to replace. They fall out of pockets and purses. If you take your retainer out to eat and wrap it in a napkin, you may accidentally throw it away. When they’re just lying around, retainers have a way of falling on the floor and being stepped on, or even being picked up by pets.