Are you about to finish your orthodontic treatment? Congratulations! We hope you are looking forward to seeing your perfect smile once your braces are removed. But the removal of your braces is not the end of your orthodontic journey. In the months and even years after your braces have been taken off, it is important to give your newly positioned teeth a little support. One of the options is a fixed orthodontic retainer.
What Is A Fixed Orthodontic Retainer?
Placed behind your teeth so it cannot be seen, a fixed orthodontic retainer isa piece of wire which holds your teeth in their new positions. The wire is fitted to the back of the front 6 upper and/or lower teeth, making sure they are secure and not going to shift back. This is a long term solution to finalise your orthodontic treatment and most patients only come in for a check up every three to six months after the retainer is fitted for the first year. These visits become less frequent from then on.
Why Do I Still Need A Retainer After Braces?
You are coming to the end of months or even years of orthodontic treatment. We have been gently coaxing your teeth into a better alignment so you can smile with confidence. The problem is, if we can move your teeth, they can move back. Over the months and years of your treatment, your teeth have shifted within your gums and jaw. In fact, our teeth move throughout our lives, even if we haven’t undergone orthodontic treatment. With a significant shift, such as those caused by braces, it takes your body a little time to regrow in such a way that it can independently hold your teeth firmly in their new position. Until this time, you need a little help, which is where the retainer comes in.
Why Choose A Fixed Retainer?
Wearing your retainer takes discipline. We often find that a fixed retainer is best for young patients who may not always follow their orthodontist’s instructions or forget to wear their removable retainer. Additionally, patients who have undergone extensive orthodontic treatment may choose to have a fixed retainer fitted on a permanent basis. Due to the discrete nature of this appliance, a fixed retainer can remain in place for years, holding your teeth securely without you ever having to think about it.
Brushing With Fixed Retainers
If you have a fixed retainer fitted, it is very important you practice good oral hygiene. The wire which is placed against your teeth is a common hazard for food to get trapped within. If left there, this food can lead to tooth decay and plaque damage. Brushing twice per day, paying particular attention to the fixed retainer wire, and rinsing with mouthwash should help you maintain good oral hygiene. It is also important for you to attend regular dental visits where your dentist can professionally clean around your fixed retainer.
If you’re interested in being fitted with fixed retainers once your braces have been removed, or would like this option for your child, speak to your orthodontist at your next appointment. We will be able to talk to you about the pros and cons of this orthodontic treatment and discuss your options.