The retention phase of an orthodontic treatment is just as important as its active phase. Once your orthodontist takes off your braces, you are given a set of retainers, which you will have to wear for another half a year or longer. The retention period requires the same level of commitment as whatever happens during this period will impact the position of your teeth.
Maintaining Teeth Stability
When you start your orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will discuss the retention phase right away. Any treatment plan should include the retainer as part of the time frame. When you start wearing your braces, you will initially feel the force pushing your teeth towards a certain direction. On the succeeding visits, your dentist will make the necessary adjustments to gradually obtain the desired corrections.
The removal of your braces marks the end of the active phase, which is then followed right away by the retention period where you will wear a set of removable retainers for six months to one year, depending on the degree of corrections.
Avoiding Treatment Relapse
The retention period is, in fact, the most critical part of the treatment. The whole point of wearing retainers, as the name suggests, is to retain the stability of the corrections and avoid unwanted dental movements.
Relapse in orthodontics refers to the gradual shifting of teeth back to their original position. A variety of conditions can cause the relapse apart from not wearing your retainers faithfully. It could be due to growth related changes, bone adjustment, the eruption of third morals, or failure to eliminate the original cause.
Retainers are passive appliances, which mean that there is no need to apply any more force to correct teeth. Their only purpose is to maintain the corrections. They are less uncomfortable compared to fixed wires and brackets. Dentists at Monkmoor Dental Practice even claims that you can wear retainers for life, but only if supplemented with a balanced diet, a good hygiene routine and regular checkups to the dentist.
Some people become complacent once they have their braces removed. Wearing your retainers faithfully will prove your commitment to the treatment. For results to last a lifetime, patients should show the same level of commitment during this critical period.