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Congrats! Your braces are off! You worked hard to get the smile you wanted! If you want to keep that smile, remember, the job is not done yet… After your braces are removed, the next step to your orthodontic treatment is: retention (meaning maintenance of that straight smile)!
After the braces come off, the teeth have a natural way of shifting, (usually toward their previous position before the braces, though sometimes teeth have been found to shift in a direction opposite to the one they had before they were straightened). Teeth are hard to figure out! To prevent shifting from happening, your orthodontist will recommend the use of retainers for a period of time, depending on your situation. Retainers are orthodontic devices that hold your teeth in their newly aligned position. It is now a well-respected fact that, especially the lower front teeth have a tendency to shift post-treatment, that is present for decades after orthodontic treatment has been completed!
Types of retainers
Some retainers are fixed (permanently attached to the teeth); others are removable. Your orthodontist will determine the appropriate kind of retainers for you, depending on factors like your pre-treatment situation, the type of bite problem you have and the result that was attained. Your orthodontist worked hard with you to get your teeth straight, so he/she doesn’t want your teeth to shift any more than you do.
Fixed retainer – Usually wires that are bonded to the back of the front teeth. This is the current standard of practice for the lower front teeth, owing to the reasons explained above. Sometimes your orthodontist will recommend a fixed retainer for the upper front teeth as well.
Removable retainer – a removable orthodontic appliance traditionally made of acrylic resin and wire, that slides over your teeth and covers the roof of the mouth. An alternate design of removable retainer (“Essix”) is made of a thin clear plastic shell that covers the teeth and part of the gum.
If you are interested in orthodontic treatment to improve your smile – contact our orthodontist office in Scarborough. Our treatment plans are personalized to your individual needs, even after your braces come off!
– The Beach Braces Team