Orthodontic treatment does not end when braces are taken off from the teeth. Patients need to wear retainers after braces, as these important appliances are designed to prevent a relapse. It’s important to understand the dynamic and flexible nature of permanent teeth. Under a relatively hard crown that’s covered in enamel, there’s a lot of soft tissue that penetrates deep into the gums. The goal of any orthodontic process is to gradually move the anatomical structures below the teeth. When brackets and other components are removed from the teeth, there’s no more tension and pressure anywhere in the mouth. The lack of external forces can lead to gradual movement of the teeth back into former positions. Therefore, the purpose of an orthodontic retainer is to apply pressure and tension on teeth that haven’t quite settled into specific spaces in the dental arches.
Overview on Orthodontic Retainers
A retainer is a simple mouthpiece that is usually composed of a lightweight and durable plastic. The composition has to be strong and rigid enough to maintain uniform pressure on the teeth, gums and roof of the mouth. Small metallic hooks are supposed to be attached to molars and premolars that are much thicker and denser than canines and incisors. A metal wire might also be set up to make direct contact with the front surface of all teeth on a given dental arch. A simple adjustment of the wire correlates to a change in tension that ultimately keeps the teeth in desirable positions.
A clear retainer is also available for patients who are very concerned about aesthetics and other cosmetic issues. Another popular option that our orthodontist in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville may recommend after braces is a fixed retainer.
Living with Retainers After Braces
Since it’s moist and warm, the surface of a retainer is very prone to bacterial growth, so it’s important to follow our team’s instructions regarding caring for retainers after braces. The appliance should be rinsed with water whenever it’s removed from the mouth. There are also special solutions that can be used to clean any calcification and other formation on the retainer. It’s also a good idea to utilize a specialty device that emits ultrasonic waves that break up small particles that might be embedded into cracks and grooves. A retainer should be stored in a case that’s sealed to prevent humid air, moisture and other contaminants from getting inside.
Before you undergo orthodontic treatment in Shelbyville or Murfreesboro at Pack Orthodontics, you will get all the facts about the use of retainers after braces. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.