Caps and retainers

Orthodontic treatment does not end with the removal of brackets, because immediately after removing the bone tissue and ligaments will begin to return to their original position and move the teeth. To fix the result after removing brackets, it is necessary to install retention constructions that will hold the teeth in the correct position until the bone tissue finally forms around the roots of the teeth.

What are retainers?

A retainer is an orthodontic appliance that fixes the teeth in the correct position, preventing them from moving. Rentaining structures can be removable and non-removable, visible or completely invisible.
Retainers are installed immediately after removing the brackets, but strictly after carrying out hygienic cleaning and caries treatment.

Fixed retainers

A non-removable retainer is an archwire made of medical steel, which is attached to the inside of the teeth with a special compound.
This type of retainer is used most often, as they are completely invisible, are not felt in the mouth and do not oxidize. Fixed retainers may come off due to mechanical stress, such as chewing on solid food. In this case, you must immediately visit the orthodontist and return the retainer to the site to prevent the teeth from moving.

Removable retainers and caps

Removable retention appliances are of two types:

  1. Plastic plates with a metal archwire that surrounds the tooth row;
  2. Transparent silicone caps.

After removing the brackets, caps or plates should be worn constantly, removing only during meals, brushing your teeth or public speaking. In the future, according to the doctor’s recommendation, the time for wearing the retention appliances is reduced: they are removed overnight and are worn less during the day.
Removable appliances can be noticeable to others, and at first they affect diction and cause increased salivation.
Usually, removable appliances are appointed at the end of the retention period after fixed appliances, but they can also be used independently by the entire retention period.

How long should you wear retainers?

The duration of the retention period is on average 2 times longer than wearing brackets, and depends on individual characteristics, oral health or bad habits. Children and adolescents up to 18 years can wear retainers from 6 months to 2 years, but the older the patient, the longer this period. In smokers, bone tissue forms more slowly, therefore, the duration of the retention period increases.

In any case, you should not stop wearing retainers without a doctor's permission, otherwise your teeth may move again.

How to take care of retainers?

Retainers, like any appliance in the mouth, without careful hygiene provoke the accumulation of bacteria, the appearance of plaque and caries.

  1. Teeth can be brushed with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste, but be careful when cleaning the inside of the teeth with a non-removable retainer;
  2. If the retainer is unstuck, you need to visit the orthodontist and return it in place so that orthodontic relapse does not happen;
  3. For thorough hygiene when wearing fixed retainers, it is recommended to use an irrigator, brushes and dental floss to clean in hard-to-reach places near the archwire;
  4. Removable retainers and mouthwashes should be washed with disinfectants, soap or cleaned with toothpaste at least 2 times a day.
  5. Caps must be removed during meals and smoking and stored in special containers;
  6. Caps can not be washed with hot water, because they are deformed.
  7. To strengthen the enamel, it is recommended to rinse the oral cavity with fluoride-containing solution.

After removing the brackets and installing retainers, it is necessary to periodically visit the orthodontist for a check-up and the hygienist to maintain oral health. Orthodontic treatment can be considered complete only at the end of the retention period.

Статью подготовила Светлова П. А., Стоматолог-ортодонт

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Clinical case report #1. Class III malocclusion, crowding treatment and prosthetic preparation.
Clinical case report #1. Class III malocclusion, crowding treatment and prosthetic preparation.

Problem: smile aesthetics and defect in bite function.
Diagnosis: the treatment of upper and lower jaw teeth misalignment and class III malocclusion, caused by increased mandible growth, and prosthetic preparation.
Therapy method chosen: orthodontic treatment using stainless steel self-ligating brackets Damon Q without teeth extraction..
Treatment time: 3 years.


Clinical case 2. Correction of the aesthetics of a smile and severe crowding of the dentition.
Clinical case 2. Correction of the aesthetics of a smile and severe crowding of the dentition.

Problem:  Smile Aesthetics
Diagnosis: treatment of severe crowding of the dentition.
Selected treatment method: orthodontic treatment with brackets without tooth extraction using the Damon Q metal self-ligating bracket system.
Treatment term:  2,5 years.

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