When you undertake orthodontic treatment, you hope that your beautiful new smile will be with you for life. What many patients fail to understand is that the most important part of the entire treatment is not actually the straightening out of your smile. It is once you have your braces off – the retention phase!
As you age, your bone structure can change and mature, and your teeth are no different. Your teeth will continue to move and shift throughout your life, especially when there are factors like erupting wisdom teeth, or missing teeth contributing. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to maximise your chances of keeping that perfect smile, perfect!
Here at AAA Orthodontics, we always take the time to explain aftercare and retention practices to our patients, because we believe that our care extends beyond the moment that your braces come off!
Don’t forget to wear your retainer!
When you take your braces off, this is probably the second thing you will hear your orthodontist say (after congratulations, of course!). That is because it plays such an important role in maintaining the new positions of your teeth.
Orthodontic retainers are usually thin, clear and removable. You may need to wear it all day and night for the first few months (except when you eat or drink) to allow your smile time to get used to not having a wire holding it in place and applying constant pressure. After this period, your orthodontist will assess how your smile is fairing and, if all is well, you will only need to wear your retainer when you go to sleep.
It is important to keep your retainer clean, to prevent things like plaque build-up and bacteria in the mouth. Rinse your retainer under lukewarm water after you take it out and before you put it in. To clean it, gently scrub it with a toothbrush to remove food, saliva and debris that may have collected on its surface (but without toothpaste as it can be abrasive and damage the plastic).
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Your orthodontist may also choose to affix a ‘fixed’ or ‘bonded’ retainer. This is a thin wire that is glued to the back of your top and bottom teeth to support them and help them to stay in line for as long as possible. Although it is not a complete solution (you will need to still wear your clear, removable retainer), fixed retainers are highly effective in helping to keep smiles straight.
These wires have a tendency to trap food and debris, much like a braces wire might, so it is important that they are cleaned and looked after properly. That includes regular brushing and flossing, and six-monthly visits to your dentist. If you are having trouble reaching between your teeth around the wire, your dentist may recommend at special flossing tool, or demonstrate proper flossing practice.
Keep an eye on those teeth!
You are the best person to monitor the movement of your teeth on a daily basis! Your teeth will naturally shift if you don’t wear your retainer and as you age. If you do notice that your teeth are shifting, or it suddenly becomes painful to wear your retainer at night, it is important that you schedule a visit to your orthodontist. This is so that they can assess the situation and attempt to prevent any further movement (and potential orthodontic correction!). Your retainer may also need adjusting to ensure that it is effectively holding that beautiful smile in place.
Orthodontic Treatments at AAA Orthodontics in Strathpine and Albany Creek
At AAA Orthodontics, we want to help to keep your smile straight for life! That is why we are so committed to our philosophy that our level of care extends beyond your final orthodontic appointment. Our friendly, understanding and welcome team are here to help you!
To find out more about our orthodontic treatments, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!