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Keeping Teeth Straight After the Braces Come Off

The day has come.  The one you have been waiting to see for many months, even years.  It’s braces REMOVAL day!  

After a quick debonding process you’ll be free of brackets and bands and your teeth will be smooth and perfectly aligned!  You are happy.  You are already planning a celebration meal free of mouth appliances and immediate post-meal brushing.  

The dentist comes to check your perfect smile and there it is…he or she mentions the word RETENTION.  Retention is a critical post-orthodontic treatment that requires wearing a retainer.  Although, maybe not what you were wanting to hear immediately following your debonding, this stage is required to help keep your teeth aligned and your results beautiful for life.  

There are several different types of retainer options which will be custom-made for you.  The doctor will discuss his or her recommendation and when and how long you will need to wear it. As teeth naturally want to shift with time, retainers help prevent the movement.  Some retainers are fixed into place behind your teeth.  Other retainers are the Hawley retainer and a clear plastic retainer, both which are removable.  The Hawley is the most common option, with both metal and acrylic material that is fitted to your mouth.  The important thing to remember is a retainer will only work if you wear it!              
Most orthodontists will recommend wearing your new retainer full time for six months following braces or Invisalign treatment.  After six months use the removable retainer at night for life.  Yes, for LIFE.  Again, because our teeth naturally shift there is no other way besides wearing your retainer to keep your teeth looking straight for years to come. Don’t waste the time, energy and money it took to make them straight by not wearing it at night!

Maintaining your retainer is also an important step in your orthodontic treatment and keeping your teeth straight.  To remain fresh and germ-free, all retainers need proper cleaning. So it’s easy to remember, brush your removable retainer every morning when you brush your teeth.  For deeper clean, try a denture cleaner or special retainer cleaner. Fixed retainers are cleaned by flossing and brushing.

Finally, always remember to use your retainer case.  You can’t keep your teeth straight, if you lose your retainers!  Accidental garbage deposits and pets thinking your retainer is a new chew toy, will only end with a costly replacement.  Also, to keep your retainer in the best shape don’t leave it in a hot car or wash in very hot water as the retainer will warp.

With proper care and consistent use of your retainer, you can protect your smile and help transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.  If you follow your treatment plan, your smile will remain just as you want it to be: straight and beautiful. At My Plantation Dentists we are always available to offer support and advice. We also offer Invisalign® at our offices, where we can map out a precise customized treatment plan. Have your teeth shifted radically after orthodontic treatment? Contact the office at 954.584.1030 to schedule an appointment and discuss your options. 


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