Check, Check and Double Check

The retention phase of orthodontic treatment refers to the period of care after the braces are removed. Our office prides itself in having the most comprehensive post-treatment care available. A superior retention program is an invaluable benefit because it ensures the long-term stability of your or your child's treated result. Your relationship with us does not end when the braces are removed. We continue to keep a careful watch over your teeth, alignment and bite long afterwards to ensure your absolute satisfaction.

At the time when the braces are removed, a small flat braided wire is bonded to the inside surfaces of the upper four incisors and is fixed to each of these teeth. The purpose of this wire is to retain the corrected alignment of these teeth long-term preventing previous rotations of teeth and spaces from relapsing. In the lower arch, a round heat-treated wire is bonded to the inside surfaces of the lower canines and the wire rests passively against the back surfaces of the four lower incisors in between. This wire prevents aging changes from occurring which present as inward collapse or crowding of the incisors towards the tongue. Providing these wires are well maintained by the patient, they will remain intact indefinitely. Most wires break, become bent or debonded when the patient has bitten into something that is too hard or sticky like a nut or toffee for instance. Charges are applied for the repair or replacement of these custom bent wires for whatever reason, so we strongly recommend that patients follow our care instructions in order to maintain the integrity of their fixed wires.

Generally, one week following the removal of braces an upper removable retainer is delivered to most orthodontic patients. It is instructed that this retainer be worn full-time for the first six month of retention and is checked at the end of months 1, 3 and 6. Following this, the retainer wear is reduced to nighttime wear only and the patient is given a case in which to store their retainer during the daytime. During this time frame, retention checks are scheduled at the end of months 9 and 12. One year after the braces are removed, retainer wear is again reduced to every other night for an additional three months and is checked at the end of month 15. At this stage, it is our protocol to discontinue wear of the upper removable retainer and assess patients at months 18, 24,30,42 and if necessary months 54 (five years post-treatment) and 66 (six years post-treatment). Your contract with us includes up to twelve follow-up checks. If additional checks are required, these are billed on a by-appointment basis.

At some time during the retention phase for all adolescent patients a panoramic film (separate charge applies) is taken to assess the wisdom teeth. More often than not, our jaws are not large enough to accommodate these teeth as fully erupted and functional teeth. Commonly, a referral is made to an oral surgeon to have them removed at their earliest stage of development when removal is easiest for the patient and the surgeon and post-operative complications are minimized.