Retainers for Alignment Retention

2 Greater Minneapolis Locations To Better Serve You

Retain Alignment with Various Retainer Options

Wearing orthodontic braces is not an overnight decision. It is a commitment for six to 24 months to move teeth, straighten teeth, close gaps and improve a bite pattern. It would be terribly upsetting to accomplish that goal and then some time down the road find out that your teeth have begun to shift back to their original locations. That is exactly what can happen. Depending on the severity of your correction, over time, your teeth will have a tendency to return to the original location due any number of factors like pressure from soft tissue, connective tissue fibers that attach the tooth to the bone and the amount of occlusion which is the contact between teeth. It used to be that our orthodontists recommend a number of years you need to wear the retainers. How wrong we have been! In the last decades, our dental and orthodontic communities finally recognized that orthodontic retention is a life-time commitment. Our teeth were programmed to move, no matter the age or how long you were in braces. We’ll look at the different types of retainers first. Dr. Pan may suggest one over the other based on your particular scenario. We’ll look at the type of retainers, proper care of that retainer and the pros and cons of proceeding with the use of the different retainers.

More on our 2 Locations for Retainers in the Minneapolis Metro:

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The Different Types of Retainers

A common type of retainer is the fixed or permanent retainer. This is when the brackets are put on the back, or lingual side, of your teeth and an arch wire is attached. This is usually not the kind we recommend due to the hardship of cleaning in between your teeth and flossing. The myth is that they are “permanent” and is a care-free approach. On the contrary, we found out that these fixed retainers alone are not sufficient to hold your teeth in place. Consider how many teeth we have? Fixed retainers to be minimally obstructing the cleaning and flossing, can only be placed on 6 teeth. That means, teeth can still go crooked, gaped or crowded without the removable Invisalign-like retainers that cover every single tooth to prevent unnecessary movement.

The second option is a Hawley retainer. This is an acrylic piece that sits on the roof of your mouth, or under your tongue, and the wire that sits against your teeth is fixed to the acrylic portion. The advantage of this retainer is the fact that it can be removed and it lasts long, the disadvantage is that it needs constant adjustment and does not attend to the details (a turning tooth for example) as much as an Invisalign-kind retainer.

The most recommended option is a new clear plastic retainer, much like the trays used in the Invisalign process for moving teeth. An impression is made, the plastic tray is made from that impression and it gives you a great option that is virtually invisible to those around you.

Why a Retainer

We mentioned earlier that Dr. Pan will consider the amount of orthodontic correction as a baseline and then there may be these considerations through an evaluation process to determine which retainer is best for you. If you breathe through your mouth you might need a stronger retainer. The clenching and grinding of your teeth creates more muscle hyperactivity and needs retention. If you thrust your tongue into your teeth of if you play a musical instrument that has you blowing through a reed it’s an issue to be dealt with. If you suck your lip or bite on a pen or pencil these are habits detrimental to your newly repositioned teeth. Dr. Pan and her staff have an investment of time in your smile as you do and they want you to maintain that smile.

In most cases you will be asked to wear your retainer 12 hours a day for a year to stabilize your dental corrections. After the first year, we recommend every night for as long as you want to keep teeth straight. Dr. Pan through regular appointments will monitor your teeth and make sure they are not regressing back to their original positions. It is a collaborative effort, you will need to participate to protect your smile. Dr. Pan’s office offers complimentary 3D model storage so your virtual teeth model will be saved in a digital bank. Whenever or where
ever you need a new pair of retainers, we can 3D print them and send them to you. Thanks to the breakthrough of digital technology and 3D printing, we can now offer patient the support you need for long term retention to protect your investment in your new beautiful smile!

Proper Care for your Retainer

A removable retainer should be brushed regularly and then rinsed dry. You will be given a hard case for your retainer. When that retainer is not in your mouth it should only be in that case, which will also need to be kept clean. The material is sensitive to excessive heat. Do not set your retainer on the car dashboard, next to the heater or even put them in the dishwasher. Plaque can adhere to that retainer just like your teeth, so brush and rinse daily and you’ll keep it in good shape.

If your retainer is fixed you will have to exercise a lot more patience in your brushing habits and techniques as well as that of flossing. You need to remove any food particles and debris from around the retaining wire. If you slack off and don’t clean around the retainer it will result in the build-up of plaque and tartar and possibly result in gum disease and dental caries.

A Small Price to Pay

At the end of the day whichever retainer you agree with Dr. Pan to wear it will be worth the effort. Your smile is an invaluable asset and you have gone through the effort to improve it. Now you need to continue to put some effort in to maintain it. That smile is the foundation for your self-confidence and your self-esteem, both personally and professionally. The retainer is very small item that you will soon create another good habit for and around.

Meet Dr. Pan

Pan Orthodontics Philosophy

To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.

Patient Information

Our Commitment to You

We will continue to keep up with the ever growing digital technologies to improve your orthodontic experience. We also commit to always help you find the most convenient time for your visit with us.