22 Mar Let’s Talk About Retainers
Let’s talk about retainers – you’ve got to the end of your brace treatment and your smile looks amazing. Now we want to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Some patients are surprised to hear that their teeth will want to move after braces come off and that teeth aren’t set in stone. After braces come off, there is an immediate period (first year) when spaces like to open back up and crowded and rotated teeth want to go back to where they were, before their position was corrected with the braces. This is partly due to the gum fibres which have been twisted and stretched as the teeth have been moved, and naturally like any sort of elastic, want to contract back into their old position. In this immediate period after braces have been removed, it’s absolutely essential that retainers are worn as instructed by your Orthodontist. We ask our patients to wear their plastic removable retainers full time for 3 months, apart from when eating, drinking, swimming, and playing contact sports. After this initial 3 month period, we encourage you to continue wearing them long term but the wear can be reduced to wearing them at night only.
Many of our adult patients have come to us with relapse in the position of their upper and lower front teeth, after having had brace treatment as a teen and then not worn their retainers for long after treatment was completed. Many of our patients choose to have a bonded wire retainer fitted at the end of their treatment to prevent relapse happening again. This is a small discreet wire bonded to the tongue side of the front teeth. Even with a wire retainer in place, we recommend patients continue to wear night time plastic retainers to protect their bonded wire retainers and help hold their beautifully straight teeth in position.
RETAINER WEAR INSTRUCTIONS & CARE TIPS
We advise you to wear your retainers full time for 3 months to ensure you teeth stay in place. During this period, you are to remove your retainers while you are eating and drinking anything but water, swimming, playing contact sports and brushing your teeth. After the initial 3 months, you may reduce your wear to night time only. Please remember that you are to wear your retainers every night as long as you want to keep your teeth straight!
Remember to keep your retainers in your retainer box when you are not wearing them. This will prevent them from being lost or damaged! It is important to clean your retainers twice a day if wearing full time and once a day if you are wearing them at night only. When you are cleaning them, use warm water (not boiling!), a wet toothbrush and unscented soap. You may also use Retainer Brite weekly to keep your retainers fresh, which can be purchased from reception or online.
When should you replace your removable retainers?
The NHS provides one set of retainers at the end of active orthodontic treatment. The fee for replacement retainers is £65 each.
Plastic retainers have a finite life and will not last forever. There is scientific evidence showing a benefit in replacing removable retainers every 12 months. If we think about it – we replace our toothbrushes regularly so it makes sense to replace retainers regularly, given that we wear them in our mouths every night. Replacement retainers can be made from the digital scan taken at the end of treatment and sent to you in the post – so no need to attend the practice.
We want you to keep your beautiful smile looking great for as long as possible. We offer a Retainer Plan for £99 to sign up and £8.25 per month where we will provide a replacement set of upper and lower removable retainers every year, sent straight to your home. Simple – like everything we offer here at Basingstoke Orthodontics – our patients’ oral health is at the core of everything we do. Ask at Reception for more details.