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.
Braces are hardly greeted positively, so wanting to rid your mouth of any additions post treatment is more than understandable! However, it is possible for the teeth to return to their original position, thus negating the entirety of your brace treatment. That is, unless retainers are used.
What is a retainer?
Put simply, 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. Retainers come in the three types: Hawley, Essix and Bonded. Hawley retainers are the best known of the three types and utilise a metal wire that surrounds the teeth to keep them in place, they also have the added benefit of being adjustable for minor tooth movement. Essix retainers are clear, made of PVC and similar in appearance to ‘ invisible’ braces. Bonded retainers consist of a wire that is permanently bonded to the back of your teeth.
It can take months for your teeth to set post-treatment and they will be especially prone to ‘relapse’ after the first month, so it is crucial that you wear a retainer during this period! At this stage your retainer should be worn throughout the day, except for when you eat or brush your teeth. Your dentist will most likely guide you through how long you should wear a retainer in this manner. This period could be anything between two and twelve months, but can, in some circumstances, be more. It is recommended that, following this, the retainer is still worn occasionally, whilst sleeping for instance, to prevent any possible problems from occurring in the future. This goes especially for people with tongue thrust issues!
Remember: Attend your check-ups, listen to your dentist near Foxrock and wear your retainer or all that hard work may be for nought!
Brace Treatment Aftercare
When you have had Orthodontic treatment you know that it often takes a lot of time and money to achieve the perfect results you want. You may have spent a long time wearing braces, with time, effort and money all spent to achieve your ideal appearance. So, why let all that hard work go to waste by not wearing a retainer? In order to stop your teeth returning to the position you were unhappy with a retainer needs to be worn to keep that perfect smile in place.
What is a bonded retainer?
Bonded retainers are small, thin wires that are glued to the back of the teeth in order to keep your smile in its new position.
In simple terms, by not wearing bonded retainer eventually your teeth will return to the incorrect position and all the treatment you underwent and the money you spent will have been a waste of time.
Any special oral care required?
Similar to wearing braces you must be extra careful when you are brushing your teeth, as any kind of wiring in the mouth is merely an extra place where food debris can get stuck, breeding bacteria and ultimately generating tooth decay. It is therefore important for patients from Foxrock to keep a regular oral hygiene routine, as those wearing bonded retainers are more susceptible to the problem of plaque build up and tooth decay. You can get special floss to help you clean thoroughly, which works with the wire to gain as much access to the teeth as possible, so tartar doesn’t build up.
Gently brush around the wiring using a soft bristled brush and make sure you clean them thoroughly. Again, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks, as they are very bad for teeth and are extra difficult to remove with wiring in the mouth.