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Dental Retainer and Teeth Shifting: Maintaining Orthodontic Results

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Dental Retainer

dental retainer and teeth shifting

Achieving a perfect smile often requires the assistance of orthodontic treatments like braces or aligners.

However, the journey doesn’t continue once these appliances are removed. One crucial aspect of maintaining those hard-earned results is the consistent use of dental retainers.

Understanding Dental Retainers

Dental retainers are custom-made devices to keep your teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatment.

They are vital in ensuring the teeth stay intact in their original, misaligned positions.

Retainers come in two main types: fixed and removable:

  • Fixed Retainers: These are permanent retainers usually composed of a thin wire linked to the back of the teeth. They are typically used for the lower front teeth and offer a long-term solution to prevent shifting.
  • Removable Retainers: The wearer can remove and put them back in. There are two main types: Hawley retainers, made of metal wires and acrylic, and clear plastic retainers, which are more aesthetically pleasing and fit snugly over the teeth.

Why Teeth Shift After Braces

Teeth shifting post-orthodontic treatment is a natural process.

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

  1. Elasticity of Periodontal Ligaments: These ligaments hold your teeth in place and have elastic properties. During orthodontic treatment, they stretch and adapt to new positions. However, once the treatment ends, these ligaments return the teeth to their original positions.
  2. Growth and Aging: Even after orthodontic treatment, the jaw grows and changes shape, especially in younger individuals. This growth can lead to shifts in tooth alignment.
  3. Daily Wear and Tear: Activities such as chewing, biting, and even speaking can exert forces on your teeth, causing them to move over time.
  4. Natural Drift: Over time, teeth naturally drift towards the mouth’s front. This is known as mesial drift and can cause crowding of the front teeth.

The Role of Retainers in Preventing Teeth Shifting

Retainers are essential in counteracting the forces that cause teeth to shift.

Here’s how they help:

  1. Stabilising Periodontal Ligaments: Retainers hold the teeth in new positions long enough for the periodontal ligaments to adjust and become stable.
  2. Preventing Relapse: Retainers stop teeth from moving back to their original mismatched placements by holding them in corrected positions.
  3. Maintaining Occlusion: Retainers can preserve proper bite alignment achieved through orthodontic treatment, ensuring long-term oral health benefits.
  4. Counteracting Natural Drift: Retainers help counteract teeth’ natural tendencies to drift and crowd, particularly in the front of the mouth.

Importance of Wearing Retainers

Maintaining the alignment of your teeth depends on using retainers, as suggested by your dentist.

Here’s why:

  1. Stabilises the Teeth: While the surrounding tissues and bone acclimatise, retainers help stabilise the teeth in their new positions.
  2. Prevents Relapse: Regularly wearing retainers makes maintaining your teeth in their original positions far less likely.
  3. Long-term Benefits: Consistent use of retainers ensures the longevity of the orthodontic results, saving you from potentially needing further treatments in the future.

How to Care for Your Retainers

Maintaining the longevity and efficacy of your retainers requires regular care and upkeep.

Here are some tips:

  1. Clean Regularly: Like your teeth, retainers must be cleaned daily. Use a toothbrush and mild dish soap to scrub them gently. Hot water can warp plastic, so avoid using it.
  2. Avoid Harmful Substances: Don’t expose your retainers to heat or harsh chemicals. Keep them away from boiling water, microwaves, or cleaning agents not designed for retainers.
  3. Store Properly: Always store your retainers in their protective case when not in use. This prevents them from getting lost or damaged.
  4. Regular Check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly to check the fit of your retainers and make any necessary adjustments.

Maintaining the results of orthodontic treatment requires diligence and a commitment to wearing retainers as prescribed.

Understanding the types of retainers, their role in preventing teeth shifting, and how to care for them can help ensure your smile remains straight and healthy for years.

Remember, the end of your orthodontic treatment is just the beginning of a new maintenance phase.

You can preserve the beautiful results you’ve worked hard to achieve with the proper care and attention.

Orthodontic Retainers in Melbourne CBD

Ready to Preserve Your Perfect Smile?

At Art De Dente Melbourne CBD, we want to help you maintain a healthy mouth and start each day with a bright smile.

Our experienced team is here to provide immediate and professional care to help you preserve your smile.

Contact (03) 9642 8955 or book an appointment online.

Visit us at Level 17, 190 Queen Street in Melbourne CBD.