What To Expect When Your Braces Come Off
Patients with braces have usually been looking forward to this day from the very beginning: the day when their braces come off. No more metal wires, no more bulky brackets, and no more plastic aligners for people with Invisalign. Rensselaer orthodontist Dr. Jordan J. Balvich, DMD, PC cautions, however, that an orthodontic treatment is not complete just because a patient’s braces have been taken off.
Far from it, Dr. Balvich says the day a patient’s braces come off is just the beginning. Teenagers and adults who hope to keep their smiles looking as straight and pretty as possible need to wear their retainers as frequently as possible. The day a patient’s braces come off, the Rensselaer orthodontist says he will take impressions of the patient’s newly-straightened teeth for a retainer. These retainers should be worn on both the upper and lower portions of the mouth.
Retainers are necessary in order to give the teeth time to settle into place. They also allow the bone surrounding and supporting the teeth to harden up, so to speak. During the time when braces have been on the teeth and the teeth have shifted in the mouth, the bone holding those teeth in place has become soft and malleable. After the braces come off, it’s a good idea to give that bone some time to harden before it’s expected to absorb all the pressure from the teeth on its own.
Patients who agree to wear retainers after their braces come off tend to get out of their braces a little sooner than they would otherwise. Traditionally, when people wore braces in the past, they would have to continue wearing metal wires and brackets for an extended period of time once their teeth were straight. This time was necessary for the bone to harden before the braces came off. For cosmetic reasons, the Rensselaer orthodontist says he has gotten out of the practice of doing that and moved into offering retainers instead.
As a top orthodontist in Rensselaer, Dr. Balvich expects his patients to wear their new retainers for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only time when a retainer should not be a patient’s mouth is if he or she is eating or brushing. Dr. Balvich typically recommends that patients wear retainers for as long as they don’t want their teeth to shift – ideally, life. Some people can cut back to wearing their retainers during the nighttime only after a period of years.
For people who do not think they can keep up with that schedule, Dr. Balvich recommends a fixed lower retainer on the bottom front teeth. That is usually the area that people notice the most if there are any changes, and a fixed retainer can be useful in keeping those bottom teeth straight.
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*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.