Retention

Congratulations!! Your braces are off! We will help you maintain your beautiful, healthy smile forever. Here's how:

Dr. Rosenberg believes in "lifetime retention". Having been in practice for many years, he has come to certain conclusions regarding retention:

  1. Teeth naturally move throughout our lifetime. Especially teeth that were crowded or spaced. Even people that didn't need braces may find that their teeth are getting crooked as they get older.
  2. Having your third molars (wisdom teeth) removed will make NO difference as to whether or not your teeth will move.
  3. ​Retention should be easy and invisible.

Highlights

No one wants to wear retainers that are visible full-time after their braces are removed. Dr. Rosenberg has developed a system that will allow you to wear removable retainers that are worn only at night, and fixed (bonded retainers-behind your teeth) that are truly invisible.

Bonded Lingual Retainers

"Lingual" means behind the teeth, so this type of retainer has many advantages.

  1. It's invisible-REALLY invisible
  2. It provides stability 24/7, so you don't have to worry about your child's cooperation.
  3. It can't be lost or misplaced-NO trips to the school dumpster.
  4. It is the only proven way to maintain space closure and it stabilizes loose teeth for those with periodontal (gum) disease.
  5. Bonded retainers often remain in place indefinitely-many years- with virtually NO risk of decay with normal oral hygiene.
  6. There are NO speech problems.

Here are a few simple guidelines for care and maintenance:

  • Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Use floss threaders or "super floss".
  • Try to avoid very hard foods.
  • Keep your regular dental appointments.
  • Keep your orthodontic recall visits, so that we can check for loose bonds.

If you notice a loose bond (i.e. - the wire feels movable or exposed), give us a call so that we can re-bond it for you. In most cases you will also have a clear removable retainer. These will keep your teeth in place until your bonded retainer can be repaired. How long will I have to wear it? That depends on you. Here's what Dr. Rosenberg recommends:

  1. The longer - the better. Fixed (bonded) retention is the safest and simplest way to maintain your beautiful smile.
  2. If you request removal, you must realize that it will be up to you to wear your removable retainers on a regular basis.
  3. If you had a space between your teeth prior to treatment, these will almost CERTAINLY come back to some degree. Even if you wear your removable retainers regularly, or had your wisdom teeth removed.

Clear (Essix) Retainer

Clear retainers are designed by Dr. Rosenberg to be worn only at night. This is a great alternative to full-time wear as they are less likely to be misplaced or lost:

  • They are almost invisible (like Invisalign).
  • They act as a night-guard to protect precious enamel against tooth grinding.
  • They are "relatively" inexpensive to replace.
  • They can be used a bleaching (tooth whitening) trays.
  • They are often worn with bonded retainers and will help ensure against movements if a bond becomes loose.

Dr. Rosenberg recommends the following schedule for his patients:

Removable Retainers

First 3 to 4 years following brace removal, removable retainers should be worn EVERY NIGHT (even if you have a bonded retainer).
- After the first 3-4 years; 2-3 nights per week.
- After that, 3-4 nights per month.

If at any time you notice any movement, or if your retainer feels "tight", increase the amount of time you are wearing your retainer and schedule an appointment if necessary.

If lost or broken, replace as soon as possible. If relapse occurs, contact our office as soon as possible. In most cases, relapse can be corrected relatively quickly, 4-8 months.


What About Wisdom Teeth?

For some people there can be a few problems with wisdom teeth. There can include:

  • Difficulty in accessibility for cleaning.
  • A high susceptibility to decay.
  • Chronic or recurring gum infections.
  • Biting against the gum tissue of partially erupted wisdom teeth.
  • Damage to the second molars by wisdom teeth.
  • Interference with normal bite or jaw movements.

Will wisdom teeth cause the other teeth to become crowded after braces are removed?

While there is still come disagreement in this regard within the dental profession, we believe the answer is NO. By far, the greatest cause of relapse after teeth are straight is failure to wear retainers as instructed.

Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?

No. We believe that wisdom teeth that are not causing problems, and are not likely to be a future problem, can be left in place. Nevertheless, some people are well-served by having wisdom teeth removed.

What should be done in my case?

Dr. Rosenberg will evaluate your third molars after brace removal and for 3-4 years during the "early retention" period. Int he future, be sure to have regular check-ups by your family dentist. He or she will evaluate the wisdom teeth and recommend removal if necessary.


What can I do if my teeth need to be re-aligned?

Spring Retainer

These are designed to move the front teeth that have very minor relapse. Spring retainers, like all removable aligners, MUST be worn FULL TIME.

MTM - Minor Tooth Movement

An alternative (invisible) solution may be lingual brackets placed behind the teeth.

These are a great alternative to Invisalign in that they are truly invisible, require less time (usually 4-8 months), and are much less expensive: (no lab fee).


Long-Term Retention

You've completed the period of supervised retention. Retainer wear must continue, but you wont have to keep regularly scheduled appointments in the future.

Here's what you need to know about keeping your teeth aligned:

  • Only you can keep your teeth straight from this point on.
  • There is no specific end-point to your retention period. A realistic approach is to view retainer wear as necessary for the indefinite future.
  • Wear the retainers enough to keep them fitting. If they still fit well, the teeth have not moved much.
  • The teeth will move if you don't wear your retainers. If you choose to discontinue use, you must assume responsibility for any tooth movement. If the teeth shift, the only way to recover could be through retreatment and additional expense.
  • Retainers are like eyeglasses, contact lenses, or any other personal item that is worn daily - they will wear out. There will be a charge to replace worn-out or broken retainers.
  • You will always be a member of our practice family. If we can help you in any way in the future, just call. We're here to help.