Orthodontic treatment means nothing without a retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. Retainers help keep the same bite and smile created by the braces over the treatment period.
How are retainers created?
Retainers are generally made from acrylic or wire. Retainers contain a labial bow and (generally) two ball clasps. These ball clasps hold it in position and the labial bow applies pressure on the anterior teeth, preventing them from moving.
Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth using plaster or stone, as when your brace was created.
Orthodontic resin can be used to create retainers that are different colours. The acrylic comes in a powder (a polymer) and a liquid (monomer.)
There is no predictable course where retainers are concerned. Factors such as the patient’s tooth structure will matter and each patient’s teeth will respond to the effects of a retainer differently and depending on the type of treatment you have undergone. Changes are likely to be episodic; your teeth will go through a time with minimal change when they are under the retainer’s influence and this will be followed by a period when your teeth will change very quickly.
Looking after your fixed retainer
Each time you clean your teeth, you should carefully brush the back of your teeth around where the retainers sit. This is paramount as it will prevent tooth decay and gum disease occurring. You can purchase a special interdental brush called a TePe which can be used to carefully clean in-between you front teeth, removing food particles.
Looking after your removable retainer
Removable retainers need different attention to fixed retainers when it comes to cleaning. You should refrain from brushing this type of retainer as this damages it. Rinse or soak the retainer in lukewarm water or a special brine (speak to us about this). Washing the retainers in way is essential as it disinfects it. You should rinse regularly to remove any food particles and saliva, otherwise plaque can be allowed to dry and settle on the retainers.