Retention and Finishing Touches
At the end of all orthodontic treatment is the retention phase. There is a natural tendency for teeth to move once treatment has finished. To prevent this relapse occurring, it is extremely important to understand what to do when your braces are removed. This is critical in ensuring your teeth will look as good in years to come as they do on the day your braces are removed. This usually involves clear retainers for night time use with or without fixed retainer wires, behind the front teeth.
Bonded Lingual Wire
A bonded lingual retainer is a very fine piece of wire attached to the inside surface of the upper and/or lower front teeth. The wire is not visible and reduces the risk of movement and relapse of the tooth position. The wire is usually placed immediately following the removal of the brace and can feel slightly bulky for a day or so.
Care should be taken when biting into hard foods with the front teeth as this has the potential to dislodge the wire from its position. We recommend that these wires are left in place indefinitely (or until such time they need removal). It is essential to have the wires checked by a dental professional for as long as they are in place.
Removable ‘Essix’ Retainers
Removable retainers are made of a clear, thin plastic material that is very discreet. For the first four weeks after your braces have been removed the removable retainers may need to worn for 24 hours per day (only to be removed for eating and cleaning). Following this your retainer should be worn at night indefinitely.
Orthodontics is an excellent way of straightening teeth as well as improving the smile and bite. Sometimes however, finishing touches are necessary to improve the shape or colour of the teeth and create the best possible outcome.
The simplest technique is to adjust and smooth any rough or uneven enamel edges. If this is not sufficient then enamel bonding (tooth coloured fillings) can be used to replace any worn or chipped areas. Tooth whitening remains a popular choice with patients at the end of treatment and can be combined with dental bonding for the most refined outcome.