By this point you have traveled a long road to obtain your nice smile. Unfortunately your orthodontic journey is far from completed. As you were informed previously, there is no time in one’s life when teeth can be considered totally stable. This is true whether or not orthodontic treatment was ever performed, sometimes due to oral muscular or postural tongue habits. Therefore, there are some instructions you must be informed of.

1. Retainers

Clear Night Retainer

In order to maintain the teeth in their orthodontically corrected positions, retainers are necessary. There is no scientific information available to support a safe time to discontinue using retainers.
In our office we recommend that removable retainers (e.g. plates, mouthpieces) be worn at night at least until age 19 for adolescents and for 3 years after removal of braces for adults. Please take your retainer with you if you go on holidays. Wire retainer splints affixed behind the teeth can be dangerous to dental health if they are not cared for to a very high standard as you have been previously instructed. If poor oral hygiene is noticed around these wires, they will have to be removed. Please have your family dentist examine the areas surrounding these wires on a regular basis for cavities and/or gum problems.

If your removable retainer(s) or your wires break, please keep all of the pieces and call the office immediately. If you lost these devices, they should be replaced. Depending on the cause of the problem and the extent of the work required, there may be a charge for repair or replacement. There are 6 months of follow up after braces are removed. Following that period we will unfortunately have to charge to recement or replace your splints and retainers.

2. Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last teeth in one’s mouth to develop. They form in the back of the mouth behind the twelve year molars and should come in between the ages of 18 and 25. If they do not come in on their own they are considered impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pressure to the adjacent teeth resulting in late developmental crowding. Recent research has demonstrated less relationship between formation of wisdom teeth and late developmental crowding. Especially if the splint wires are still intact. Occasionally, in conjunction with the general dentist or specialist oral surgeon, we will advise removal of impacted or potentially impacted wisdom teeth.

3. Relapse

Typically occurs if splint retention wire breaks and/or the retainers are not being worn.

Should your teeth shift or “relapse” to undesirable positions, there are three possibilities you may consider:

i) accepting the changes if they are minor and provide a new passive retainer
ii) active retainer(s) to correct moderate relapse (invisible aligner or spring aligners)
iii) retreat with limited braces for severe relapse for a short period of time.

Invisible Aligner and Spring Aligner

Unfortunately, retreatment as in ii) or iii) above involves a modest fee.