Retaining Straight Teeth
What is my responsibility in keeping my teeth straight?
Once your braces have been removed and you have beautiful, well aligned teeth, you will need to wear retainers to keep them that way. At first, you will be asked to wear your retainers all the time, except when eating and brushing your teeth. After one year, when your teeth have had adequate time to stabilize, your will be instructed to wear your retainers at night only.
If you do not wear your retainers as instructed your teeth will move. Rotations and tipping of the teeth may occur and spaces may open between the teeth.
How long will I wear retainers?
Retention is a lifetime commitment. As previous stated, after one year retainer wear will be decreased to night only but it will be your responsibility to continue to wear your retainers indefinitely to maintain the alignment of the teeth.
What causes the teeth to shift after the braces have been removed?
As a general rule, teeth naturally shift as we age. Very few people have naturally straight teeth. A variety of forces act throughout life to cause the teeth to change position. This includes natural wearing of the teeth from chewing, placement of fillings and crowns, gum disease, removal of teeth and changes in the bones and muscles of the face with age. Although the shifting is usually very slight and gradual, if the front teeth are involved you may not be happy with your appearance.
What should you do if your retainers become lost, broken, or do not fit?
Please call our office immediately to avoid any shifting of the teeth. If the retainer is bent or broken, a new retainer must be made to maintain the alignment of the teeth. There is a charge for this service. If you wait, your straight teeth may shift to the point where a retainer will not straighten them. If this occurs, retreatment involving the placement of braces will be necessary to realign the teeth.
What about future appointments?
You will be contacted periodically by our office to check and adjust your retainers. These appointments are necessary to ensure that your retainers are fitting properly and comfortably. We will check the alignment of your teeth and your bite and, with your permission, take any necessary x-rays to check the development of your wisdom teeth, if they are present. There will be charges for any necessary x-rays and your checkup appointments.
If we cannot reach you or you do not hear from us periodically, please contact our office. If you have a change of address or telephone number, please let us know.
Thank you for your cooperation and enjoy your beautiful smile!