Your Cuspid-to-Cuspid Retainer
Your new bonded retainers will keep your front teeth straight and healthy as long as you are careful of how you eat, bite, brush and floss. Patients that have first had removable retainers, then the cuspid to cuspid ones, have told us how much more they like these. They're almost invisible too!
Your retainer is bonded to each tooth separately. Carelessness can separate this bond. If left unbonded even for only a few days, tooth decay can occur and the unattached tooth can become crooked. So if you feel a loose bond with your tongue or see a tooth get out of, call us for an appointment immediately. (A charge will most likely be made for a repair or replacement. So be careful, please.) Even though the retainer feels secure and the teeth remain aligned, we want to continue to examine the bonded teeth, retainer and your bite on a regular annual or semi-annual basis anyway.
You can brush your teeth and gums as usual, but flossing has to be done more carefully. Because the bar or flexible wire is in the way you cannot bring the floss down between the teeth in the usual manner. If you can thread your floss from the front under the retainer wire, fine; otherwise you will have to use a floss threader or special super floss of Waterpik flosser. If you have difficulty don't hesitate to ask us.
Be sure to tell the dentist or dental hygienist who regularly cleans your teeth to be ever so careful of your new retainer.
Don't hesitate to call our office if you have a question or if anything seems unusual. Good luck, be careful and keep smiling!
1. How long is the Retention Phase? When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention phase of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 6 months, 24/7. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer with soap and cold water before placing it back in your mouth.
2. Retainers are forever- The 6-month 24/7 retention phase, then every night after allows for a majority of growth and settling to occur so that the teeth and jaws are as stable as possible. However, living tissue is always subject to change from posture, habits, muscle pressure, etc. The eruption of teeth, dental restorations and the aging process all contribute to unwanted tooth movement. Forces exerted by the lips and tongue can also cause subtle changes in tooth positions. Habits such as biting your nails or chewing on pencils put enough pressure on the teeth to move them as well. Recent studies have indicated that growth occurs in small amounts throughout life. Thus, teeth and jaws can shift at any time in varying degrees, which usually depend on the original malocclusion, the facial muscle structure and the amount of residual growth. Some believe that un-erupted wisdom teeth are a factor in movement of teeth, but this has not been proven conclusively and tooth shifting has been seen to occur in people with no wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth or 3rd molars may be recommended due to lack of adequate space in the mouth for normal eruption.
3. Lifetime Retention- The only way to maintain the tooth alignment indefinitely is with permanent guidance or lifetime retention. This means wearing a permanent retainer that is bonded behind your front upper, and lower teeth, and a removable retainer 7 nights per week, forever. Permanent, and Removable retainers must be used in both the upper and lower jaws.