Nanc and overarm Ring Types Of Orthodontic Appliances
My teeth are no longer moving, do I need to keep my retainers?
Patients who have finished their orthodontic treatment several
years ago frequently ask us this question. The ultimate decision to
wear, keep or remove orthodontic retainers, whether they be fixed
or removable, is up to the patient even if all orthodontists
recommend a certain retention protocol.
Most patients will stop wearing removable appliances after a while
or the orthodontist will eventually give them the “permission” to
stop wearing them. These appliances will wear out progressively and
will become unusable one day or another anyway. The limited
lifetime of most removable appliances is shorter than the lifetime
of fixed appliances.
The fixed appliances (wires and splints) can stay properly bonded
and intact in the mouth for years and they are the kind of
appliances that patients sometimes ask to remove. The reasons can
be varied: difficulty to clean (dental plaque and tartar easily
accumulate), discomfort or irritation for the tongue (this is very
rare), they believe that they do not need them anymore (after
growth has stopped or when wisdom teeth ) are extracted), etc.
As described previously, there are always forces acting on teeth
throughout life and not having observed changes months or years
after the end of an orthodontic treatment cannot guarantee that
none will occur eventually. Some of these forces or causes
explaining the main relapses occurring during the immediate period
(12-18 months) following the removal of corrective appliances
become less significant with time. This is the case of the effect
that gingival periodontal fibers that bond teeth together can have
and can contribute to rotations of teeth. However, other forces,
difficult to measure and evaluate, are and will always be present:
residual growth, effect of the perioral musculature, mastication
forces, parafunctions (bruxism and teeth clenching), other oral
In summary, if you would not accept any changes in the position of
your teeth, keep the retention wires and splints “indefinitely”,
but if small movements would not bother you, they will not bother
your orthodontist either, so you can have them removed. The
decision is yours. If a small dental displacement does not cause
any functional problems (interferences, wear, gingival recession,
etc.) and does not bother the patient esthetically, it will
certainly not bother your orthodontist!