Last updated May 16, 2022
After removal of orthodontic appliances in orthodontic treatment,Retainers (retainers) are used to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.
Retainers play an important role in maintaining the teeth and bite that have been moved by treatment.
It is no exaggeration to say that the success or failure of orthodontic treatment depends on how the period of retention during which retainers are worn is spent.
In this article, we will explain in detail the purpose of retainers in orthodontics, retention periods, and common problems.
- What is a retainer?
- Reasons for regression after orthodontic correction
- Retainer type
- How long do I have between retainers? How long do I need a retainer?
- Retainer wearing time
- Retainer problems and solutions
What is a retainer?
Retainers are devices used to stabilize the alignment of teeth that have been moved during orthodontic treatment.
During orthodontic treatment, orthodontic appliances are worn during the treatment period, but immediately after the appliances are removed, the bone supporting the teeth (alveolar bone) is not stable and the teeth try to return to their original position.
This is called "backtracking.
Retainers are devices that stabilize the teeth, surrounding muscles, and alveolar bone by preventing post-treatment retroversion.
Retainers are worn securely during the retention period to ensure that the teeth are well aligned and the bite is maintained.
Orthodontic treatment can be said to be "completed" only after this period of retention.
Reasons for regression after orthodontic correction
In orthodontic treatment, an orthodontic appliance applies a constant force to the teeth. When strong forces are applied to the teeth, the bone that supports the teeth (alveolar bone) dissolves, and new bone is formed in the gaps that dissolve, causing the teeth to move.
Orthodontic treatment utilizes this "alveolar bone destruction and regeneration" mechanism.
Then, after the braces are finished, the alveolar bone is not stable for some time and the teeth try to return to their original position.
This phenomenon is retrogression.
The reason for the retroversion is that even after teeth are moved by orthodontics, the gums and muscle fibers around the teeth remember where the teeth originally were.
For this reason, they try to return to their pre-treatment tooth alignment after removing the orthodontic appliance.
It takes a certain amount of time for the tissues surrounding the tooth to learn the new position.
Retainers worn during the retention period should have
Don't go back to the original position! This is your new position!"
and to teach the alveolar bone and surrounding tissues.
Therefore, skipping a retainer can cause retroversion to occur.
There are two types of retainers: removable and fixed.
During the retention period, we use retainers that are appropriate for each patient based on the alignment of the teeth and the condition of the mouth.
Removable (peg type, holley type, mouthpiece type)
Removable retainers are also called removable retainers.
It can literally be removed at any time at will.
Because they are removable, they can be removed when eating or brushing teeth, making it easier to keep teeth clean.
The removable retainer has a
Peg type: "The outside of the tooth is held in place by a wire, and the gums on the back side are covered with plastic.
This is a holer type that "suppresses only the anterior teeth that are prone to regression."
Mouthpiece type that "covers the entire tooth with a transparent plastic
Fixed type (Fix type)
Fixed retainers are called fixation types.
Unlike removable types, retainers are fixed to the back of the teeth with a special adhesive.
The material used is often metal wire, which is installed on the back of the teeth and is not so noticeable.
The advantage is that there is no need to put on and take off as with the removable type.
However, the disadvantage is that plaque and stains tend to accumulate around the wire because it is attached to the back of the teeth with an adhesive, making it difficult to clean.
For this reason, teeth should be cleaned regularly at the dentist's office.
How long do I have between retainers? How long do I need a retainer?
Retainers must be worn for a certain period of time to prevent the teeth moved by braces from regressing.
This period is called the "retention period.
The retention period varies from patient to patient, but it is generally about the same length of time as the orthodontic appliance was worn.
If the patient wore orthodontic appliances for two years, the retention period would be two years, if three years, the retention period would be three years, and so on.
Retainer wearing time
Immediately after orthodontic treatment is completed (immediately after removal of the orthodontic appliance), the retainer should be worn except when eating and brushing teeth.
After the completion of orthodontic treatment, the retainer is gradually worn for shorter periods of time, such as "only at bedtime," "only at night," "only two or three days a week," or "only a few hours a week," for six months to one year.
howeverRetainers should be used continuously over timeThe following is a list of the most common problems with the
After the completion of orthodontic treatment, a period of about 2 to 3 years is required.
(*The retention period varies from patient to patient.)
It is advisable to continue wearing retainers for a long period of time after the retention period is over.
In addition to individual differences in susceptibility to retroversion, the teeth, gums, muscle tissue around the teeth, and alveolar bone change with age.
For this reason, it is recommended that retainers be used as long as possible to stabilize the alignment of the teeth, and if possible, for life.
It is wise to wear it at least at bedtime, even after the retention period, as it is particularly prone to backsliding in those who have a tongue habit.
Some of you may be sick and tired of hearing the word "lifetime."
However, a lifetime is only after the retention period is over.
Because most of the time the wear time will eventually be "only a few hours a week",
The mental and physical burden is lighter than you might imagine.
Also, among retainers, fix retainers are fixed, so many people keep them on all the time.
Retainer problems and solutions
Retainer has been damaged.
If your retainer breaks during the retention period, please consult the dentist where you received your orthodontic treatment as soon as possible.
Continued use of damaged retainers can weaken the retention effect and may cause unexpected damage to the teeth and gums.
If the damage is small, it can be repaired in one day.
In cases where damage is significant, it may take several days to two weeks or more to repair the damage.
If the damage is too great, a new retainer is made.
I lost my retainer.
If you lose your retainer, please see your dentist as soon as possible as in the case of damage.
On average, it takes three weeks to a month or more to make a new retainer.
Until a new retainer is made, a temporary device is used to prevent regression.
To avoid losing retainers,
You should always carry a case with you and put it in the case as soon as you remove it.
I skipped putting the retainer on.
Some patients do not adhere to the prescribed wearing time and tend to skip their retainers.
The more a retainer is skipped, the more it will regress.
Skipping a retainer is often not much of a problem if there is no discomfort or pain when reattaching it.
However, when the retainer is reattached after skipping,
It just feels tighter than usual."
I feel pain."
If so, backsliding may be underway.
If you experience any discomfort or pain when wearing the retainer, you should have it checked by the dentist where you received your orthodontic treatment as soon as possible.
I explained the purpose of retention and retainers after orthodontic treatment.
After removing orthodontic appliances, "backsliding" occurs.
Retainers must be worn to prevent retroversion
The period of retention with retainers is about the same (on average) as the period of wearing orthodontic appliances.2~ (after a number N)3(About a year)
・It is advisable to continue to wear retainers regularly for the rest of one's life if possible
Do not skimp on retainers.
If you have trouble with your retainer, see your dentist as soon as possible.
There is no point in going through the trouble of getting braces at a high cost if the teeth quickly return to their original position.
To protect the beautiful alignment of the teeth obtained through orthodontic treatment, make sure to continue wearing the retainer securely.
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365dentist General Supervisor Dentist/snow child (type of winter spirit)
Graduated from Nagasaki University School of Dentistry, ~2018 Kyushu Medical Center, Dental Surgery, 2018-present Working at a dental clinic in Tokyo
After completing clinical training, worked in cosmetic dentistry in Tokyo. Currently a part-time dentist and dental writer.
Member of the Japanese Society of Aesthetic Dentistry