Orthodontic treatments can be quite expensive. While most dental plans insure the cost of orthodontic services, there is usually and out-of-pocket expense to the policy holder. For many teenagers, the use of braces and various orthodontic appliances provides for a more beautiful smile. Unfortunately, the cost and effort of orthodontic care often results in the movement of teeth after the orthodontic treatment is complete.
Commonly referred to as “retention”, orthodontists strive to promote retention of the orthodontic treatment. For many orthodontic patients, however, it is not uncommon to experience a change in the position of teeth after treatment, requiring additional orthodontic services later in life. For many orthodontists, tailoring the orthodontic treatment to the individual needs is crucial to retention and is quite challenging.
If you, or your child, will be engaging in orthodontic treatment, it is important to speak with the orthodontist about the issues involved in retention. Often, parents are unprepared for this adverse outcome and become quite volatile when the teeth begin to shift. Discussing the possibility of this outcome is important to you, or your child’s, orthodontic outcome. To promote retention in your orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist should consider placement of a temporary or permanent dental appliance. Often, this appliance is in the form of a retainer.
In addition to retainer use after orthodontic treatment, it is also important to understand how your teeth will transition during orthodontic treatment. Even after the teeth are in proper position, it will take, on average, 232 days for the fibers around the teeth to become adjusted to the new tooth position. However, even if this length of time is allocated to the orthodontic treatment, there is still a risk for tooth movement.
Another area of concern involves that of oral health. Because poor oral health can lead to adverse orthodontic outcomes, it is important to discuss the unique measures required to maintain oral health during orthodontic treatment. Without proper oral health, the fibers may not shift properly, resulting in loss of retention when orthodontic treatment is complete.
With the high cost of orthodontic services, many adults and parents struggle to make the decision regarding when to place braces and what timing should be expected. Because retention is a significant complication associated with orthodontics, be certain to address this concern with the orthodontist, including the timing for fiber adaptation, the application of proper oral health and the use of permanent and temporary retainers.