360 Orthodontics: The Retention Phase
360 Orthodontics: The Retention Phase
When your braces are first removed, your teeth are going to look amazingly straight. The Retention Phase is the process just after your braces are removed that helps ensure your teeth remain straight.
Many patients think that once their teeth are straight, they are always going to stay that way. The truth is that your teeth are not set into concrete, and there is always the risk they will shift out of alignment. That doesn’t mean getting braces is a waste of time or money. Instead, the retention phase of your treatment is a big deal that can save your teeth from going crooked again. At 360 Orthodontics we consider the retention process one of the most important aspects of your overall treatment.
The Retention Phase: Why Do Teeth Move After Braces?
The retention phase technically lasts for 6 months after your braces are removed. During this time your teeth will grow and settle, as your teeth and jaw stabilize. Certain habits, pressure, and even posture can cause the living tissues in your mouth to change form. Some habits known to move teeth in your mouth include:
-Chewing on the ends of pencils, or anything else
-Eruption of new teeth (usually wisdom teeth)
-Slight but consistent pressure from your tongue against your teeth
-Natural growth, teeth grow in small amounts throughout your lifetime
How Can You Keep Your Teeth From Shifting Out Of Place After Braces?
Getting your braces off can feel like the end of the teeth-straightening process, but there are still some steps you must take in order to keep your teeth looking great. We have all known someone that did not follow through with the retention process, and therefore found their teeth going crooked again after having their braces removed. This doesn’t have to be you!
There is one way you can actively fight to keep your teeth in perfect alignment: wearing your retainers.
During the retention phase you will need to wear your retainer at least 22 hours each day. After a specified period of time, you will only need to wear your retainers at night.
Many patients wear their retainers somewhat regularly throughout the 6-month retention process, but in order to ensure your teeth remain straight well after this period you should continue to use your retainer. In order to keep your teeth straight 5, 10, or 20 years from now, you can continue to wear your retainers 4-7 nights each week.
Removable Vs. Bonded Retainers
Removable retainers can be taken in and out of your mouth as you please, and should be utilized on both your upper and lower sets of teeth. Permanent retainers require less thought because they are always in your mouth, but can get in the way. Talking with your dentist can identify the right option for you.
Caring For Removable Retainers
There are a few key tips to keep in mind when it comes to taking care of your removable retainers:
1. Loyally wash your retainers daily. Use a toothbrush, cold water and soap to rinse and scrub any debris from your retainer. Do not use hot water because retainers are molded to fit your mouth using heat, meaning they can lose their shape under high heat. Specialty cleaners may also be recommended for use once a month.
2. Try and keep track of your retainers at all times, and when you are not wearing them make sure to put them in their case. If you lose your retainer you want to get a new one as soon as possible.
3. Remove your retainer when you eat. Food can damage retainers, plus it isn’t as comfortable to eat while wearing them anyway.
Caring For Bonded Retainers
Non-removable braces are bonded to your teeth and cannot be removed until the end of the retention phase. A few care tips to keep in mind:
1. Avoid hard or chewy foods that can damage your retainers
2. Clean your bonded retainer regularly. Take the time to floss the lingual bar each time you clean your teeth.
3. Visit your dentist the moment your bonded retainer breaks, becomes uncomfortable, or causes any issues.
The Retention Phase At 360 Orthodontics
The retention phase is one of the most important aspects of straightening your teeth, without proper orthodontics care during this time your teeth are at risk for going crooked again—something NO patient wants to deal with. At 360 Orthodontics, Dr. Partovi works one-on-one with patients throughout the entire process, from the moment braces are applied to months after braces have been removed. Helping you achieve a straighter smile that withstands the test of time.
Call us today for superior Los Angeles orthodontics dental care. You’re going to love your new smile—guaranteed!