When you finish your orthodontic treatment, you are excited to be free of the appliances you’ve had to put up with. Brackets, wires, elastics, aligners and so on. However while it is certainly important to revel in the freedom of your new smile, equally important is taking the necessary action to retain it. And that comes down to one word- retainers.
After completing orthodontic treatment under the care of Dr Amani Morra at Dream Orthodontics, you will be prescribed a retainer that will be custom made to fit your smile. Your orthodontist will give you instructions for how and when to wear this retainer, characterizing it as your “retention phase” of treatment. This phase will last about 12 months. While that is the prescribed time for the phase, it is truly recommended that you continue wearing your retainer past that time. Maybe not with the same prescribed consistency your orthodontist initially provided, but at lease with some regularity.
Even if you’ve had the best orthodontic treatment possible, over time your teeth will start to shift toward their original positions. This is because your gum fiber will slowly , but consistently try and pull your teeth back to where they once were. Additionally, as you age your facial skeletal structure changes, and your teeth experience natural wear. As a result, the perfectly straight smile you leave the orthodontist with could become unstraightened over time, your teeth becoming a victim to a relapse.
Shifting & Retention Case Study
The University of Washington conducted a case study in which former orthodontic patients were studied for 10-20 years after completing their orthodontic treatment. The results- without fail, no matter what type orthodontic treatment the patients originally underwent ( braces, Invisalign, etc) they all experiences an orthodontic relapse. In other words, their teeth moved. And how straight their smiles remained was directly related to their retainer wear.
When to Wear
While your orthodontist may prescribe consistent retainer wear for the official retention phase of orthodontic treatment, past that we recommend wearing your retainer at night as often as possible for as long as possible. This will make the difference in preserving your straight smile for the future.
Types of Retainers
Dream Orthodontics offers different types of retainers to meet your smile retention needs, including:
-Clear Tray Retainers (Essix Retainer)
-Plastic & Wire Retainers (Hawley Retainer)
-Permanent Bonded Retainers