Traditional metal wire braces are sometimes compared to ‘train tracks’, and, if we shake this comparison from its common position as an insult, there is something appropriate, maybe even poetic, about it. Orthodontic treatment is a kind of journey, potentially quite a long one, towards the glistening Valhalla that is a corrected smile. Unfortunately, however, the journey does not end once the braces are off. The last hurdle – you’re running on those train tracks now – is in fact the few months post-brace, a period when your teeth could ‘relapse’ and negate all that dental work. How can you avoid this? Simple: A bonded retainer.
What is a retainer?
A retainer is a removable device, usually made of plastic and wires, which keeps in place (or ‘retains’) the position of your teeth after brace treatment, and they usually come in one of three types: Hawley, Essix or Bonded. At Dublin18 Dental Care near to Foxrock, we provide bonded retainers for patients. Your mouth is especially prone to relapse during the first month after brace treatment and it is recommended to wear a retainer at all times, but there is no fear of forgetting with a bonded retainer as they are, quite literally, bonded to your teeth. Bonded retainers can also have the aesthetic advantage of being practically invisible. They can be fixed to the inside surfaces of teeth, though in some cases this will affect the quality of your bite and may not be suitable.
Bonded retainers are often left in place for months, years or even lifetimes! Despite the miracles they are capable of working, they also require a little bit of care. When brushing, take some extra time out and brush around the retainer thoroughly. Floss daily and, if it helps, use a floss threader to floss between your teeth and retainer. Remember to attend regular dental checkups and cleanings, and also stay away from sugary food and drinks. The care required for retainers is similar to braces, so the transition shouldn’t be too strange.