December 5, 2013
After Orthodontics: Maintaining a Healthy Smile Once Braces Are Off
When you're finished your orthodontic treatment—whether it's braces, Invisalign or another option—your new smile is yours to keep. Like anything else you spend time, effort and money on, with orthodontics, you'll want to keep that smile healthy and looking fabulous. Once treatment is complete, that part will be up to you!
To help you maintain your investment and keep that smile looking wonderful well beyond treatment, we've assembled this post with some of our best tips. By wearing the retainer given to you at the end of your orthodontic treatment, you will be rewarded with a beautiful smile for life. Whether you or your child has been given a clear retainer, an acrylic and wire version or a fixed (or bonded) retainer there are some general rules to heed:
Wear it! — Retainers are designed to hold the teeth in place until the bones and gums adapt to the change. Without the retainer some shifting may occur—and the last thing you want is to lose what you worked so hard to achieve. So the first rule is you can never wear your retainer too often or for too long!
At least 8 hours — Wear your retainer for 8 consecutive hours or more each day for the first year. Some patients, such as those with missing teeth or who have had jaw surgery, may be required to wear the device for 12 or more hours a day. For most people the best time to do this is while they sleep.
Safe storage — When not wearing the retainer, store it in a safe place. You will be given a case when you receive your appliance and this is the best place to keep it. Many retainers have had to be replaced because they’ve gotten accidentally thrown out or played with by the family dog!
Don't be a stranger — Follow up appointments are important! After orthodontic treatment, it is essential to attend your retainer appointments at the Docbraces offices. Patients will see their orthodontist 2 or 3 times over the first year following removal of the braces to monitor progress and give advice on the required frequency of wear.
Brushing is still important! — Last but not least, be sure to keep your retainer clean! Brush it with toothpaste, and you can use denture tablets up to 2 or 3 time a week to reduce build up and keep the appliance odour-free. But don’t soak it in water that’s too hot—it could cause it to change shape.
If you have any concerns or changes to your teeth, or if you lose or break your retainer, make sure to call your Docbraces orthodontist right away for an appointment.
Ultimately, post-treatment care is up to you – make sure you “self-monitor” for shifting so you will know if you’re not wearing your appliance often enough. If this happens, make sure to go back to wearing the retainer every night. But keep in mind – you can’t go wrong if you continue to wear your retainers every night for several years after treatment. Keep your hard work worthwhile – reward yourself with a great smile for life!
To learn more about how the orthodontists at Docbraces use braces and alternatives like Invisalign to give you the smile you’ve always wanted, download the FREE guide: How Do Braces Work? The 4 Steps of Treatment.