Although it is commonly believed that the teeth are fused or attached to the surrounding bone structures of the jaw, in reality, the roots are surrounded by a soft periodontal ligament. This is why when you press against a tooth or slightly “wiggle” it, you can feel slight movement. Orthodontics treatment is basically the same idea but on a full treatment scale. Orthodontic treatment involves moving or tilting and holding the teeth into a new position. The pressure supplied by orthodontic apparatuses allows the soft “housing” around the tooth to change shape and permit the gradual movement of the teeth.
When this pressure is applied to the teeth and the supporting structure for an extended period of time, the fibers of the periodontal ligament are stretched and contorted. Due to the fact that these fibers are very elastic, once braces or other orthodontic equipment is removed there is a high tendency for the ligament to restore the placement of the teeth into their original position. This happens most often in the short term.
The general layout of your bite and teeth is mostly dictated by genetics.However, there are other factors that contribute to the eventual look and feel of your smile. Tongue placement and movement, cheek size, and speech, swallowing, and breathing patterns can change the placement of your teeth.Therefore, these factors can also aid in poor retention of orthodontic results.
After many long months of braces, the last thing you want is for all your hard work to go undone. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent a relapse.Many patients will be given a retainer to wear after treatment has finished.Retainers are removable plates that fit around the teeth to prohibit movement. Retainers are generally worn while the patient sleeps.Eventually, the retainers can be worn less frequently as the periodontal ligament losses elasticity.
Many patients are not bothered by their retainers. In order to retain the perfect results caused by proper orthodontic procedures, a patient is advised to wear their retainer every night, indefinitely. For patients who find retainers cumbersome, but would still like to retain their perfect smile, many dentists will recommend a bonded retainer.
A bonded retainer is a small wire attached to the back of the front teeth.Since the bonded retainer rests behind the teeth, there are obviously no aesthetic drawbacks. The bonded retainer does not hinder dental hygiene. It is very easy to floss between the bonds and your dentist can check stability and gum health during each visit. As life gets busier and the hours in the day seem to shorten, not many patients have the time or the mind to gain good habits with their removable retainer. That is why the bonded retainer has become so popular with orthodontists and their patients in the last couple years. Maintaining that beautiful smile is easier than you think!
Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.