The retention phase of orthodontic treatment begins when braces are removed. Dental appliances called retainers are used to maintain the new position of a patient’s teeth.
A retainer could be fixed or removable and is custom made using thin wires and transparent plastic to fit a patient’s teeth. Depending on the age of the patient and the type of orthodontic treatment received, one may need to wear a retainer for varying amounts of time.
A variety of retainers are available to treat different kinds of dental problems:
- Essix – This is the most commonly used vacuum formed retainer. It is made by taking an impression of the newly aligned teeth and then creating trays of clear PVC trays that fit over the entire dental arch.
- Hawley retainer – This retainer consists of an acrylic arch and a metal wire. The metal wire is adjusted by the dentists periodically make sure that the teeth stay in position. The acrylic arch is designed to fit comfortably on the palate of the mouth.
- Fixed Retainers - These are somewhat similar to lingual braces and are used for patients who have had substantial or rapid movement of their teeth.
One needs to consider some basic things while using a retainer:
- Do not consume liquids with the retainer on: Excess liquid under the retainer trays can increase acid exposure and increase chances of decay.
- Do not eat wearing a retainer: food tends to get trapped in Hawley retainers and can damage the appliance. VFR retainers make chewing almost impossible when they are simultaneously worn on both jaws. All in all, it is best to remove your retainer when you eat.
- Wear your retainer as directed: retention phase of orthodontic is critical to maintaining the new shape and position of your teeth. Retainers are designed to give the bone, tissue and muscles time to stabilize the teeth in their new position. Failing to wear them could cause the teeth to shift back to their original position, putting all the effect of your orthodontic treatment in vain.
- Clean your retainer properly: Clean your retainer inside out to avoid accumulation of calculus and bacteria. VFR Retainers should be cleaned using denture cleaners or retainer cleaners. Hawley retainers can be cleaned with a toothbrush.
Get quality retainers suited to your newly aligned teeth at Cornerstone Dental Associates. Call our clinic in Crossroads, TX on (940) 365-7665.