At de Pacific Dental, we don’t just believe in straightening your teeth – we believe in keeping your teeth straight for life!
When most people think of orthodontics, they tend to only consider the time that they’re actively straightening their teeth with Invisalign or braces. Many patients don’t know that retention—that is, keeping your teeth straight after you’ve completed treatment – is one of the most important part of orthodontics! After the time and investment you put in to straightening your smile, we want you to enjoy your beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.
- Wear Your Retainer
After we straighten your teeth with Invisalign or braces, we have to keep them there so they don’t move back to their unhealthy position. When we move teeth, the bone needs to regenerate around the teeth in their new position — this takes some time. And even after all of the bone has regrown, teeth will shift if they’re not kept in the right place.
As we age, our teeth tend to shift towards the front of their mouth. Even if you’ve gone through orthodontic treatment in the past, you’re not an exempt from this – especially if you stopped wearing your retainer as you got older.
This is why a lot of adults who’ve gone through braces find that their teeth relapse back to their old crooked position if they don’t wear their retainers.
Retainers are vital to keeping your newly straightened teeth in place, and to prevent them from going back into their unhealthy position. Most orthodontic patients need to wear their retainers for 6 months full time after completing active braces or Invisalign treatment, and then the removable retainers at night as a lifelong commitment. Don’t worry, retainers are discreet and comfortable. There are two types of retainer – removable and fixed. So let’s take a quick look at both.
These resemble a thin, transparent gumshield which fits tightly over your teeth to keep them in position. They’re custom-made by taking an impression of your teeth once the braces have been removed.
For peace of mind from losing removable retainers, you might prefer to wear fixed retainers. These consist of a thin stainless steel wire which is bonded permanently to the back of your front teeth. This will usually be fitted as soon as your braces are removed, and prior to taking an impression for a removable retainer. You’ll soon get used to the retainer and it can’t be seen by anyone either. You will need to be extra vigilant when brushing your teeth, however as plaque can form beneath and around the wire.
- Take Good Care Of Your Retainer
Make sure to clean your retainer properly everyday. Keep your retainer in great shape and always keep it safe. Lost retainers are a common problem, and it can become expensive to continually replace yours. If you’re eating out, make sure to put your retainer in a case, rather than a napkin – this makes it likely to get thrown out. If you do lose or break your retainer, replace it right away.
- Practise Excellent Oral Hygiene
The emergence of wisdom teeth, teeth grinding and clenching from the stress of work and life, dental erosion, the loss of other teeth, gum disease, smoking and many other factors can influence teeth movement and shifting over time. If you lose a tooth or face extreme decay on one of them, your other teeth may start to shift into the gap. With proper brushing and flossing, you can keep your teeth as healthy as possible, protecting your straight smile.
- Get Regular Dental Check-Up
Get a professional teeth-cleaning twice a year, along with a dental exam to assess your oral health. If you need sealants, fillings, or other family dentistry services to preserve your smile, get them completed as quickly as possible. Any slight teeth movement can also be detected early and rectified.
Keeping your teeth straight after braces doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow the simple tips above for a lifetime of beautiful straight smile 🙂