Traditional braces are high-grade stainless steel. They often consist of a series of small square attachments (brackets) cemented to the teeth, holding a thin wire (archwire) in place using rubber bands that help put pressure on the teeth to slowly move them to the desired position. These brackets are highly sophisticated as every tooth has its own unique bracket design engineered to achieve optimal final tooth position and angulation. Traditional braces are the most economical choice and still the most popular.
It is VERY important to avoid sticky as well as hard foods while wearing traditional braces. Your child should be prepared to put in the extra effort to brush, floss and rinse their mouths more often than without traditional braces.
When we remove the patient’s braces, we begin the active retention phase. It is necessary to wear retainers consistently during the active retention phase so the patient’s bite stabilizes. In the first few months after braces are removed and/or the more severe the original problem, the greater the risk of relapse. Wearing retainers faithfully is the only way to ensure the patient will be able to hold his/her teeth in their new positions. In most cases, retainers must be worn for several years, if not indefinitely.
There are two types of retainers after braces: Fixed and Removable. Choosing which type usually involves consideration of the clinical needs of the patient, the desires of the patient and the overall compliance that the orthodontist and the patient can expect from retainer maintenance.
The fixed type of retainer is usually a thin wire worn across the back of the lower or upper front teeth, which is bonded in place with a cement similar to that applied on the brackets of braces.
The removable type of retainer is usually a combination of a wire going across the front of the lower or upper front teeth held in place with the use of acrylic material and hooks (or clasps) that insert in and around the back teeth to hold the retainer in place.
Maintenance of Braces and Retainers
Throughout (and after) the use of traditional braces and both types of retainers, it is imperative to continue routine dental visits to our office to check for cavities and to clean the straightened teeth. Our dentists and dental hygienists can inspect in and around traditional braces or a fixed retainer to ensure it is properly secured in place and the teeth supporting it are free of plaque and tartar.
Removable retainers should be brushed daily with a toothbrush using cold water and liquid soap. Additionally, a removable retainer should be soaked in a water/baking soda solution in order to remove bacteria. Otherwise, the patient may experience bad breath from accumulated plaque and bacteria.