It’s Time to Take My Braces Off- What Happens Next ?
You’ve got the news you’ve been waiting for… your teeth are ready and it’s time to take your braces off! Yay ! So, what’s the next step ? An impression or mold of your teeth is taken the appointment BEFORE your braces are removed in order to make your retainers. The mold is sent to a dental lab where a custom wire retainer is made for your teeth. This way it will be ready for you at your next appointment, when the braces will be taken off.
Retainers are important for two reasons:
1. The bone around your teeth requires time to rebuild. This is why when the braces are removed the teeth can feel loose. The space around the root of the tooth is larger during orthodontics (this is part of how the teeth move) and that is why the teeth can feel like they are moving. Retainers help to hold the teeth in the final position while the bone is rebuilt.
2. Teeth are like everything else in our body, they change (or “age”) with time. This is the shifting that people often see around the time that wisdom teeth come in (see our blog on wisdom teeth). Many studies have shown that it is a coincidence in timing, and not actually crowding caused by the wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth are not able to cause enough pressure on the teeth ahead of them to cause crowding. Crowding occurs in the lower front teeth as we get older, whether you had braces or not, and whether you have wisdom teeth or not. So, while they are not needed to be removed to prevent crowding, you may however have dental, not orthodontic, reasons to remove the wisdom teeth.
Retainers are how you can prevent both types of tooth movement, to make sure the smile we have worked on together stays straight for life. After the braces are off, we still want to see you to check your retainers. Based on how your retainers are fitting AND how your teeth looked when we started, we will recommend how often you should wear your retainers going forward. If you don’t wear your retainers, unfortunately your teeth will move, but this is preventable with good retainer wear.