Our team here at Almond Orthodontics would like to take this opportunity to officially congratulate you on completing your orthodontic treatment. It has been a long road from start to finish, and now you have that beautiful smile you’ve always wanted – so, what’s next?
To ensure your smile straightening results are retained, it will be necessary for you to wear retainers following the conclusion of your orthodontic journey. These custom-made appliances are designed to ensure your teeth maintain proper alignment and do not begin to shift after your braces have been removed. At our Kennewick, WA office, we provide a complimentary, 12-month retention phase to ensure your retainers are comfortable, fit properly, and work effectively. During this time, we will schedule periodic appointments with you to assess the fit of your retainers and conduct any alterations or repairs as needed.
To learn more about retainers and the post-treatment process, we invite you to read below! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office. We will be happy to help!
The Importance of Retainers
Retainers are a key part of your orthodontic treatment because they help to keep teeth in their corrected positions once they have been aligned. Without a retainer, your teeth may begin to move back to their original position, which can cause your smile to become crooked again; oftentimes, this means patients have to wear braces again for rectification.
Wearing a retainer as directed by our orthodontists will help ensure that your smile stays straight for years to come!
Choosing the Best Option
Our office offers two different types of retainers to fit the needs and preferences of each particular patient; these options include removable clear retainers and permanent fixed retainers.
If choosing removable retainers, patients will visit our office to undergo an intraoral scan that will be used to create a 3D printed diagnostic model. From this, we can create the perfect retainers for the patient.
- This scan and assessment appointment will cost approximately $100.
- Patients can expect a set of three upper and three lower retainers available within 48 hours. Each retainer will cost $50.
Removable retainers are made from high-grade materials – designed with strength and durability in mind; that way, patients can enjoy optimal retention as teeth are prevented from shifting out of alignment. Despite proper maintenance, these appliances will become worn over time and decrease in efficiency. For this reason, we encourage replacement every one or two years (our ideal recommendation is two new retainers every two years). To maximize the retainers’ performance, we advise the following care instructions:
- Clean your retainers often using toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will ensure the appliances remain fresh, clean, and well-fitting.
- Do not eat while wearing your retainers. This may cause food particles to become trapped in the retainers – leading to foul odors and even cavity development.
- Keep retainers away from extreme hot or cold temperatures, as this may cause them to lose their shape.
- Always place your retainers in their designated case when they are removed. Due to their clear appearance, they are easy to lose and may become discarded.
- If you suspect you are grinding your teeth, talk to our team about wearing a nightguard. Retainers may become damaged due to grinding, and nightguards are made to withstand this excess friction.
Fixed retainers are another option we offer in our practice. Attached to the backs of the lower teeth, this retainer is applied as a wire that is fixed into position, preventing the teeth from shifting.
- If choosing this option, patients will visit us for an appointment to update bite records and clean their teeth prior to application. This appointment will cost $100.
- Usually, on the same day, we will bond the retainer to the teeth. This will cost $200.
Patients often find fixed retainers to be convenient, but they do require careful maintenance to ensure the teeth and gums remain healthy.
- Similar to the special hygienic care taken while wearing braces, patients must carefully floss around the wires between each tooth and brush the backs of the teeth thoroughly to dislodge any trapped food particles.
- If either the patient or one of our providers determines that this regimen cannot be maintained, we will recommend removable retainers.
Upon removal of your braces, your supervised retention phase will begin! Once you choose the ideal type of retainer for your needs, we will provide the removable retainers or apply your fixed wire retainer. From there, we will conduct free follow-up appointments over 12-months to ensure your journey is proceeding smoothly. If you are wearing removable retainers, be sure you bring them to every appointment!
- First appointment – This is the visit in which your retention phase begins. You will receive your removable retainers or undergo an application process.
- Second appointment – This visit occurs six weeks following the initial appointment. During this time, we will observe the fit of the retainers and discuss any questions you have or needs for alteration.
- Third appointment – After six months have passed, we will perform another inspection of the retainers and ensure they are fitting properly.
- Additional visits – As needed, patients can schedule further visits with us within the 12-month period. After 12 months have passed, these visits will cost $100.
Over this time period, it is not uncommon for patients to experience slight changes in their teeth as they settle. These changes are relatively minor as a result of proper retainer wear and are not a cause for alarm. However, if a patient neglects to wear their retainers properly and finds that the appliance becomes tight or unable to fit, it is crucial to visit us as soon as possible. We will then have the opportunity to correct the problem before misalignment advances. Additionally, our team will carefully monitor jaw development as part of each retention appointment. If we notice irregular growth of the jaw leading to diminished function, it may be necessary for braces to be worn again or for jaw surgery to be performed.
Our team will ensure that you are kept informed as we monitor your smile following orthodontic treatment. If we notice any concerns regarding your retainers, teeth alignment, or jaw growth, we will ensure you are notified and met with the best recommendations to secure your smile!
Retaining Your Smile
In order to maintain your results following orthodontic treatment, it will be crucial for you to follow any treatment plans outlined by our orthodontic experts. Generally, retainers must be worn in accordance with the following schedule to preserve smile alignment:
- Up to two months post-treatment – Wear retainers sixteen hours each day
- Between two and six months post-treatment – Wear retainers twelve hours each day
- Between six and twelve months post-treatment – Wear retainers eight hours each day
- Between one and three years post-treatment – Wear retainers every night
- Between four and six years post-treatment – Wear retainers every other night
- For indefinite retention following the six-year period – Wear retainers twice each week
Upon deciding to reduce the number of hours you wear your retainer, we suggest that you first skip one night of wear. If you notice the retainers are tight upon wearing them again, you are not ready to alter your schedule.
Because You Deserve Exceptional
At Almond Orthodontics, we believe that every patient deserves an exceptional orthodontic experience.
From the first moment you step into our office to the day that you receive your first retainer, our team is proud to be a part of your smile straightening journey. As orthodontic experts, we believe that it takes more than just skill and ability to provide the best to those we serve. Our team is driven by a passion for perfection and strives to see the impact of a healthier, happier smile. Led by heart and aided by knowledge, our team is here for you.
If you are nearing the end of your orthodontic treatment and eagerly awaiting the retention phase, contact our office to begin preparation, ask a question, or indicate your preferred retainer type. Together, we will establish a retention plan that secures your beautiful smile for life!