Any patient that has had orthodontic treatment of any kind will need retainers for life. That means that weather you had conventional orthodontics with the old style braces that required extractions, or you are having Fastbraces®, 6-month smile, Invisalign, Inman aligners, Quick Straight Teeth or any system available in the market, you will need to maintain your results with orthodontic retainers and you will need to do this forever after. If you do not do this you are in great risk of suffering an orthodontic relapse.
An orthodontic relapse can occur even years after you have had your teeth straightened, so please do not deviate from wearing some sort of retainer. If you have had your braces with another practice and they have not advised you so, please do a favour to yourself and have a set of retainers made before it is too late.
Adding to the long term risk for a relapse another danger is the immediate relapse. You will be probably shocked to know that about 80% of orthodontic relapses happen on the first 2 days after the braces are removed. A common cause is that the orthodontic practice does not have good protocols in place for the patient to acquire retainers immediately, meaning from the first day that the brackets are removed. In our dental practice at You Smile Dental Care in Lincolnshire, we have an organised system that consistently succeeds to provide our orthodontic patients with retainers on the day that they have their braces removed, and so eliminating the chance for an immediate relapse.
What is difference between fixed and removable retainers? Which orthodontic retainers should I choose removable or fixed ones? Which orthodontic retainers are better for me?
There are two types of orthodontic retainers, removable and fixed ones. The removable retainers are those that contemporary orthodontic science recommends to be the best, for the following reasons:
- They are more hygienic and you can floss and clean your teeth properly.
- After the first year that they are worn during bed time every night, they only need to be worn for just 30 minutes every day (shower time) thereafter.
- If anything goes wrong with them it is immediately noticed.
The only disadvantage of removable retainers is that they will rely on the patient to wear them every single day, and if neglected the patient will face a high risk for the teeth to relapse.
Also, removable retainers are due to suffer wear and tear and will need replacement from time to time for a cost. This is more frequent during the first year as overnight usage damages them quicker. Removable retainers are damaged quicker for patients with a deep bite or clenching habits. But this is not actually a disadvantage of removable retainers as the fixed ones also suffer breaks that need to be repaired for a cost. Note that from the second year removable retainers in most cases will be worn just for 30 minutes every day thereafter and that will significantly expand their life time. On the other hand, fixed retainers will statistically suffer more breaks and need more repairs the older they get through the years.
You Smile Dental Care offers a second set of removable retainers free of charge (terms and conditions apply).
From all the above it is obvious that the retention treatment of choice is with removable retainers. However, if you prefer to have fixed retainers as well, you can ask from us to make you a pair for an extra fee. Fixed retainers are not included in your initial quote and they are charged separately £140 per arch, meaning they currently have a total cost of £280 for a complete set for the upper and lower teeth.
Fixed retainers may take away some of the risk involved in forgetting or neglecting to wear your removable set. But apart from the extra cost, please consider the following facts about fixed retainers before you choose to have them:
- Fixed retainers are not hygienic and you will not be able to use conventional floss. This will increase the risk for carries and gum disease between your teeth and will require more frequent appointments with a dental hygienist for life.
- Fixed retainers are facing a high risk for suffering partial or complete damage through the years. They will need to be repaired for a cost according to the size of the damage. Typically these days this cost is approximately £70 for a small break.
- Fixed retainers can only be used reliably in conjunction with removable retainers, as the patient many times fails to notice that the fixed retainer has suffered a chip, so the patient may stay with a non functional device for a long time and suffer a relapse as a result, unless the removable one prevents it until the problem is discovered during a thorough dental check-up. Removable retainers can be easily worn on top of your fixed retainers without any problems.
- If you still want to have fixed retainers as well, please let us know early in order to arrange your last appointment differently. You do not need to go to the dental laboratory on the same day if you are having fixed retainers and so you do not need the whole day off.
How should I be wearing my removable retainers? How do I maintain my removable orthodontic retainers?
Aftercare instructions for orthodontic treatment with removable retainers and tips for optimal results:
- Wear your retainers during bed time every single night for the first year, starting from the first day you have your braces removed.
- Reduce the wearing time to ‘shower time’ which is just 30 minutes every day from the second year and thereafter. It is proven that this time is enough and this will also expand the longevity of your retainers against wear.
- Have a spare set made and carry it with you on holidays. We offer that as a freebie if made immediately after your treatment (terms and conditions apply). Having it or more sets done later will always have a cost. This cost is currently £120 per arch, meaning £240 for a full set of upper and lower retainers.
- The spare retainer will save you from a possible relapse in case you lose or damage your first set, until you can get an appointment with us according to our availability.
- In case the retainer was missed for a few days and does fit properly anymore, wear it immediately 24/7 and contact us to get an appointment as soon as possible.
- In the undesirable event of suffering a relapse, which will only happen if you misuse your retainers and lose days, we can retreat you with braces for a reduced cost. The earliest you contact us to correct the problem, the lesser your treatment time, brackets needed and total cost will be.
- Sensible and appropriate use of your retainers will always guarantee you to keep forever the great smile that fastbraces have given you.