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Your teeth are straight and your smile is beautiful thanks to Invisalign. The End. Not really, because good orthodontists monitor the state of your teeth after treatment is done. Everyone with straightened teeth, from any kind of orthodontics, must be examined at regular intervals afterwards to make sure your jawbone is doing its job correctly.
UPGRADED 26 JULY 2017
The Next Step
The periodontal ligament is affected by orthodontics, and it stretches during treatment. Guess what it wants to do after treatment is over. It wants to go back to its old habits, possibly detracting from the successful efforts of Invisalign treatment. This is why a retainer is necessary for continued success. The ligament must be watched.
Teens still have “soft” bones, and teeth can shift back to their crooked positions without a retainer after all of that straightening work. The jawbone becomes harder and more dense with age, making it easier for the retainer to do its job.
Just In Case
Sometimes people have braces in their teens and then don’t wear their retainers like they should. Well, don’t despair, because Invisalign can straighten them again, and your orthodontist can make a case for your mission to wear a retainer after treatment, this time.
You’re not alone; it happens. Don’t suffer from crooked teeth just because you already had braces. This time, your retainer will save the day. Some sources recommend wearing a retainer every night for the rest of your life. You get a new retainer every 9 – 12 months to ensure its effectiveness. “Grinders” who grind their teeth at night benefit from a retainer in two ways: teeth-straightening and grinding protection. It’s win-win.
Keeping it Clean
Retainers must be cleaned to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Would you stick a dirty piece of plastic in your mouth every night? Let’s hope not. Your orthodontist can recommend ways to clean your retainer, depending on the kind of retainer it is. There are several ways to clean a retainer if approved by your orthodontist:
• Baking soda
• Denture cleaner
• Castile soap
• Antibacterial dish detergent, mild
Cleaning may also involve scrubbing the retainer with a toothbrush. Only your retainer-maker knows for sure. Rinsing it with clear water before and after cleaning is a definite “do.” Find out if it needs to be very dry before placing it in its container. Keep it in a clean container that also needs to be washed.
Do not scrub your retainer with toothpaste. It is too abrasive for the surface. It’s made to clean hard tooth enamel, not retainer material. Other “do not’s” include:
• Leaving a retainer on a hot car dashboard
• Microwaving it
• Putting it in the dishwasher
• Putting it in boiling water
• Over-soaking it in vinegar or anything else
One other point of cleanliness is not allowing pets to confiscate your retainer. It doesn’t matter how “clean” a dog’s mouth is, supposedly. It is not clean enough for your retainer. Dogs like the crunch of a retainer at times. Cats might like to bat it around on the floor or push it into the toilet from a ledge. They’re animals; it’s their job. It’s your job to prevent this. Your orthodontist will want to see your retainer, most likely, for quality control purposes, on your regular visits.
Go to your regularly-scheduled dental appointments and orthodontic appointments. These appointments are scheduled periodically so that you can keep your teeth in the best health possible. Even people with straight teeth can get cavities or gum disease. Many patients might have good odds for not having these problems when their teeth are straight, but heredity may have a say in it, too.
Making the Time
We all have so much to do. We hope you’ll spend as much time as you need in order to keep your whole mouth healthy. You didn’t choose to have treatment only to let it all go and have crooked teeth again. If straight teeth are important, then maintaining them and wearing a retainer is important, too, if not more important. Realtors say the most important three words in house-buying are “location, location, location.” We say the most important words after treatment are “prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.”
It takes a few minutes every day to take care of your teeth and your retainer. You clean your body every day, and your teeth are no different. Sleep specialists recommend a bedtime routine for falling asleep within a reasonable amount of time and staying asleep. Part of this routine can be tooth care. Your body expects things to happen in the usual order before falling asleep, so include your teeth in the bedtime ritual and it becomes second nature. It is no longer an “extra” job, but part of the routine. Maybe your sleep will improve as well, so it’s another win-win.
The type of braces needed for each patient is determined after a thorough examination from an orthodontist in Centerville. For orthodontic treatment, Fairborn residents trust, visit King Orthodontics where there are two orthodontists, including:
Call today to schedule an examination for orthodontic treatment that leads to improved dental health and higher self-esteem.
400 East Dayton
Yellow Springs Rd.
Fairborn, OH 45324
Phone: (937) 878-1561
What Happens After [Invisalign] Treatment is Completed?
Samuel B. King, D.D.S., M.S. – King Orthodontics – Specialist in Orthodontics for kids, teens and adults in Centerville and Fairborn.