You have successfully completed your Braces journey and are now moving on to the maintenance phase! Teeth are biological structures that are sitting in gums and bone. They are constantly working to help us eat, smile, and talk. It is natural for them to move slightly. Retainers are very important to avoid/minimize Teeth Relapse (which is the teeth shifting back towards its original state). Retainers are maintainers and should be worn to sleep for lifelong maintenance.
Here are a few tips to maintain that beautiful smile…
Types of retainers you might get:
Permanent (fixed, bonded) retainers
Fixed wires are bonded to the back of your teeth and therefore not visible.
They are with you 24/7! You will never forget, misplace, or outgrow them.
They stay in place for as long as you want your front teeth to remain straight, otherwise your teeth have potential to relapse.
However, the composite bonding material may break due to wear and trauma, accumulating more plaque and calculus at the region.
How to clean permanent retainers?
Plaque gets trapped easily around the wire and bonded composite, making it difficult to clean in between your teeth.
Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day.
You may use a superfloss or interdental brush to clean underneath the wire.
Patients with a fixed lingual retainer may also use a Waterpik Water Flosser as an easier and faster alternative to flossing. It is to be done in conjunction brushing to ensure you are plaque free!
How often should I wear my Retainers?
Research has shown that relapse of tooth positions is the most intense in the 1st year after braces/ Invisalign treatment is complete. Your 1st year retainer wear is critical. Thereafter, retainers should be worn at night.
If you have forgotten to wear your retainers for a few days, the retainers will feel tight when you next put them on.
This means that teeth have moved slightly and the retainers are trying to squeeze them straight. It is a warning sign. Do not ignore this.
Wear the retainers FULL TIME for the next 1 month. The retainers must be fully seated into position to help move teeth back into place. If there is no improvement after 1 month, do give us a call at 67379797 to book a review appointment.
In general for fixed braces cases:
First 6 months Full time wear of 20 hrs. DAILY
Next 6 months 10 to 12 hours DAILY
Thereafter, Alternate nights to sleep for as long as you want to maintain straight teeth.
Retainer Care Tips
Coffee, tea, curry, carrot juice, red wine etc WILL stain retainers. Please only drink plain water when wearing your retainers.
No super-hot drinks with retainers on to avoid distorting them.
Do not let your retainers get damaged or bent (keep it in the case when not in the mouth).
Do not ‘bite’ on retainers, it will crack!
Do not play with the retainers using your tongue.
WRAPPING RETAINERS IN TISSUE PAPER is the fastest way to lose retainers!
How to clean my removable retainers?
Do not soak or wash your retainers with Dettol or other household cleaning products. These products are poisonous, may change retainer properties and stain them.
Disinfect your retainers with Retainer Brite tablets.
DO NOT soak retainers in warm water or leave them in the sun!
If retainers are cracked or broken, please do not fix it yourself.
Look out for cracks and traces of wear on your retainers, it may indicate a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. You might need a firmer and more durable retainer to withstand your grinding tendencies. If you do have this para-functional habit, it is recommended to consider alternative Retainers that can withstand the heavy grinding forces. Please speak to any member of our #SmileTeam.
What happens during a Retainer Review Appointment?
Retainers MUST be brought for every retainer appointment to allow us to check on the following:
1) Any teeth relapse (For small changes, we are able to adjust the retainers to straighten teeth!)
2) Retainer condition and cleanliness (We are able to tighten retainers and send retainers for a deep ultra-sonic clean in our lab)
3) Retainer compliance (We can assess if it’s time to scale down the hours of retainer wear)
4) Dental hygiene (Any dental decay? Gum disease? Bad breath?)
5) Problems in eruption of wisdom teeth (when applicable)
It was certainly our pleasure to complete your braces journey, we are going to miss you!