During your braces treatment, as your teeth move, there is lot of remodeling of bone that is supporting the teeth. In the process there is transient decrease in the density of the bone. The teeth are attached to the bone with the help of tiny elastic fibres called gingival and periodontal fibres.As the teeth move from one position to the other, these fibres are stretched and they try to pull the teeth back to their former position but presence of braces prevents them from doing so. After your braces are removed, there is no restraining force on these fibres and they start pulling the teeth back to their original position. This phenomenon is called RELAPSE. Therefore to prevent relapse, you are advised to wear a restraining appliance called RETAINER and the period through which you will be wearing the retainer is called RETENTION PERIOD.
During the retention period, these fibres relocate their attachments on the teeth roots and adjust their lengths conforming to the new position of the teeth. In the mean time, as the teeth function individually and their position is held constant by the retainers, there is bone deposition around the teeth so that they stabilize in their new position. This retention period varies from individual to individual. But for an average case it lasts between 6 to 12 months.
There are two types of retainers, removable and fixed. Generally removable retainers are used for most of the cases. For certain cases that show more relapse tendency, a fixed retainer is advocated. These cases include,
- Generalized spacing in the teeth due to missing teeth, small teeth and / or large tongue.
- Extreme crowding and rotations of teeth particularly lower incisor crowding.
- Upper midline diastemas, particularly due to interposed frenum.
- Class 2 div. 2 type case.
- Uncooperative patient who refuses to wear removable retention plate.
Essix retainer is a clear transparent removable retainer which is made of a special thermoplastic material with special retainer making machine. At SMILES N FACES we are happy to provide this retainer tour patients. It is very popular amongst Orthodontists and patients all over the world.
- 1) Transparent and almost invisible. No more retainer wires in front of your teeth.
- 2) Adapts to the teeth very precisely hence maintains their corrected position.
- 3) Covers only the teeth and gums and does not cover the palate, hence speech is unaltered.
- 4) Easy to remove and put back
- 5) Long lasting if used correctly
- 1) It is a removable retainer, hence requires dedication and discipline to wear it.
- 2) It needs to be removed while eating food and drinking beverages
- 3) It can easily break if used incorrectly
- 4) It can stain if it comes in contact with food and harsh chemicals
- 5) It can change its shape if it comes in contact with heat
Removable retainer is made of an acrylic plate that covers the palate in the upper jaw and the lingual or inside portion of the lower jaw. Attached to the acrylic plate are the wire components, which include – clasps on first molars and a labial bow on incisors and canines. The clasps hold the plate on the teeth firmly and the labial bow along with the acrylic plate maintain the stability of the teeth.
To get the best out of the retainers one should follow the following instructions thoroughly.
Wear the retainers continuously except while eating and brushing teeth.
Seat the retainers completely by applying firm pressure on the plate.
Clean the retainers at least once a day by scrubbing with a toothbrush and soap or acrylic cleaning solution and plain water. Do not put the retainer in hot water.
When not in use, keep the retainers, away from heat and chemical solutions, safely in the provided container preferably in water.
- Handle the retainers delicately so the wire components are not distorted.
- Report to the office immediately in case of broken, ill-fitting or lost retainer. Do not try to repair or adjust it yourselves.
Fixed retainer is made of thin steel wires twisted together to form flexible spiral (FSW) retainer OR a band of polymeric fibres . The retainer is bonded to the teeth usually on the inside surface of teeth using tooth colored composite resins. Since it is put on the inside surface of teeth it is not visible. With the fixed retainers the retention period varies between 2 to 5 years or more.
For maximum benefit of the fixed retainers following instructions should be followed :
Brushing around the fixed retainer should be very thorough to prevent accumulation of food particles.
- Eating hard and sticky food should be avoided to prevent damage to retainer.
- Constant self-examination and vigil to notice any loose bond is important to avoid relapse tendency.
Even after following strict retention regimen in certain cases the stability of the teeth may not be achieved leading to minor to moderate relapse in certain areas. Therefore constant self-examination to monitor relapse tendency is required. In case of any disclosure, kindly report to the office as soon as possible.