Retainer Care: What To Expect After Braces

On the day you get your braces removed by our orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, you’ll be excited and happy to not have to be as careful in choosing what you eat. However, getting your braces off is not the end of the treatment. In order to ensure that your teeth remain in their new positions and do not start to shift, you’ll need to wear retainers. As the name implies, a retainer retains the current position of your teeth so that you can maintain your new, straight smile.

Getting Your Braces Off

On the day you get your braces off, you will be brought back to the treatment room, where we will remove brackets along with the wires. Then, Dr. Reddick will carefully remove any residual adhesive from your teeth. If you feel any adhesive or bonding material on your teeth after the braces have been removed, let us know so we can remove it. Excess bits of adhesive or bonding material can feel rough or uncomfortable. Once all your brackets are off, we’ll take some final records including photographs and x-rays. You will feel changes in your mouth after braces.

Getting Fitted for a New Retainer

On the day your braces are removed, your teeth are considered straight and in their proper positions, but they may not stay that way if you simply leave our office after your braces are removed. This is because your jaw and the structures supporting your teeth are not accustomed to your new teeth positions. Instead of holding your teeth in place, these supporting structures may try to pull your teeth back into their original positions. To stop this progression and help you maintain your straight smile, you’ll need to wear a retainer.

We feel removable retainers are best for most patients.  These are created from either digital scans or impressions of your teeth. With these, models of your mouth can be created, and retainers can be fabricated that are custom fit for your mouth. We like to have the retainers fabricated prior to you getting your braces off so there is no time for your teeth to move.

Your Retainer Wear Schedule

Whether you had traditional braces or Invisalign, we recommend you wear your retainers close to full time for the first six months. You can certainly remove them to eat, brush your teeth, and special occasions of course. You’ll also need to clean and sanitize them at least once per day. Any time you are not wearing your retainers, you’ll need to store them in their case. Never leave a retainer in excessively hot areas or in your car. It is possible for extremely hot temperatures to warp your retainers.

Usually, after the first six months, your retainers will only need to be worn at night. Periodic checkups with our orthodontist will help determine how well your teeth are retaining their positions and whether you need to increase or decrease your retainer wear. Without proper retainer wear, shifting of teeth can be expected.  If there is a relapse, it can sometimes require retreatment, but this can often be accomplished with Invisalign clear aligners rather than with another set of metal or ceramic braces. It is best to be diligent about retainer wear so that retreatment is never needed, however.

To learn more about how braces can help you improve your smile and your oral hygiene, contact us online to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, or give us a call at 321-254-5232 today.