Are retainers important post orthodontic treatment?
Retainers are what holds our teeth in place after orthodontic treatment. Teeth have a tendency to move back into their original position and retainers stop that relapse from happening, holding them in place long enough for stabilisation. While complex mechanisms are constantly taking place in our oral cavity, it is important to identify why we need to take our retainers seriously. The basic causes for the need of retention are as follows.
Causes of need for retention:
- Soft tissue and muscular factors like forces from the lips and tongue,
- Supporting tissues
- Reorganisation of periodontal fibres
- Elasticity of gingival fibres
- Crowding after 3rd molar eruption
- Skeletal changes
Periodontal and gingival fibres take a few month for reorganisation and and these contribute to the equilibrium that controls tooth movement within the socket. During orthodontic treatment, when bone remodelling occurs, teeth shift into their new place. It takes time for the remodelling process to adjust to the new normal. The bone and the periodontal ligament around it takes time to fall into place and stabilise in that position. Skeletal growth in a growing patient also calls for high retention demands as vertical growth changes are constantly taking place in a growing patient. Teeth require a 3-4 month retention period after fixed orthodontic treatment for mildly displaced teeth and 8-12 months for more irregular teeth. Hence, wearing retainers at this stage is crucial to avoid teeth going back to how they were.
There are different types of retainers, and each depends on the needs of the patient:
Broadly speaking, we have fixed or removable retainers and as the name suggests, removable retainers such as Hawley’s, Beggs and Clear retainers can be taken out and worn by the patient, whereas fixed retainers need a dentist to adjust according to patient needs.
Our very experienced orthodontist, Dr. Pancko provides excellent care to both adolescents and adult patients and offers all kinds of available treatment, devising a detailed treatment plan which is specifically suited to patients needs.