Quality Orthodontic Care In East China & New Baltimore

As your orthodontic treatment is nearing to its end, you start to countdown the days when your braces can come off. You look forward to the feeling of being able to eat what you want and running your tongue over your smooth teeth without the blockage of metal bands and brackets. At Brieden Orthodontics, we strive to provide comfortable and high quality orthodontic treatment so that all our patients can experience a healthy and beautiful smile. Dr. Christopher M. Brieden and his team want you to be prepared for the next step after braces, because even on this happy occasion, you're not quite done with orthodontic treatment yet. The next phase and the most important phase to maintain your straight smile is called retention.

The Importance Of Retention

Retention is a critical follow up stage after braces that involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer. There are several different kinds of retainers are available, all of which are custom-made just for you. Our East China and New Baltimore orthodontist will recommend the type that will work best in your situation. Dr. Brieden will tell you exactly when and how long you need to wear retainers to get the most out of your completed treatment. Some people may argue the purpose of a retainers especially when their teeth are already straight; however, wearing a this appliance can offer a multitude of benefits such as:

  • Keeping your teeth straight: If you don’t wear a retainer after your orthodontic treatment, your teeth will start moving right back to where they were. This is because teeth aren't set rigidly in the jawbone and are held in place by a network of fibers called the periodontal ligaments. After they have been moved, it takes several months for the periodontal ligament to adjust to the new position.
  • Maintaining good health: A straighter smile and correct bite can actually help your oral hygiene by preventing plaque buildup and reducing your chance of cavities. It can also help you chew your food better which can offer more nutrients and help you digest your food.
  • Improving breathing: If you struggle with snoring or other breathing issues, retainers may sometimes help. Special types of retainers can be used at night to help straighten your teeth or align your jaw to help with this.

Being fitted for a retainer usually happens on the same day your braces are removed. After your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, Dr. Brieden may take another set of X-rays and/or bite impressions to check how well your braces worked and then start getting your retainer ready.

Three Types of Retainers

There are three basic types of retainers available that are suitable in maintaining your smile. Each orthodontic appliance is designed based on the patient’s personal preference.

Types of orthodontic retainers. The Hawley Retainer

This is the most common type of retainer used after braces. It is a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth, with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable and easily removed. Personalization is available by choosing different colors and designs for the plastic arch.

The Clear Aligner

Another popular style of retainer is the clear aligner-type, which looks similar to the Invisalign tray system. These retainers are custom-made of a thin, transparent plastic which is designed to fit over your teeth. They are practically invisible to others and are easy to remove.

Fixed Retainers

As their name implies, they aren't removable by the wearer — but they aren't visible either. Like lingual braces, this system uses a wire which is bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. It may remain in place for months, or longer. This type of retainer is recommended when there's a high risk that teeth could revert to their former position.

After a short time, most people adjust quite well to wearing a retainer. Some may find that they produce more saliva than usual for a day or so after first wearing any type of retainer — a normal reaction to a foreign object in the mouth. You may also find it a little harder to talk normally at first, but that problem will soon disappear. Of course, removable retainers should always be taken out when you eat or brush your teeth — a big change from braces!

Call Your East China & New Baltimore Orthodontist Today!

The retention phase is an important part to your smile’s success post orthodontic treatment. Retainers allow you to maintain your newly straightened smile, and ensure that the investment you made in your orthodontic treatment is not wasted. That is why it is important to follow your retention instructions as prescribed by your orthodontist. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. To learn more about retention and retainers, schedule an appointment with Brieden Orthodontics today. We’re always happy to discuss your retention options in more detail!