Dentists regularly require patients to wear a retainer after they have removed braces from their teeth. The retainer helps the teeth stay in their new position while the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth stabilize after they have been moved into a new position. Without the retainer, the teeth could shift back into the original position, and all the time and effort of orthodontics would be wasted. Here is how a wire retainer is made to keep your teeth from moving around.
Making a Mold of Your Teeth
The first step in creating a retainer is making a mold of your teeth. A dentist will use usually a molding material called alginate to make the mold. Alginate is made from brown seaweed and is mixed with calcium, sodium, or ammonium to make a soft, chewy type substance that you will bite into that leaves an impression of your teeth and mouth. This impression is then sent to a dental lab where your retainer is made.
Building the Retainer
The dental lab takes the mold and installs metal clips around the molar portion of the mold. These metal clips are used to hold the retainer in your mouth when your wear the retainer. The dental will then place wire on the inside of the mold. This wire is formed around each tooth in the mold to keep the teeth in your mouth from changing position as your teeth settle.
The dental lab pours acrylic into the mold to hold the wires in place after they have been properly positioned around the teeth impressions. The acrylic can come in a variety of colors to match skin tone or to create a design that reflects your personal tastes. The mold is then placed into a pressure cooker for about five to ten minutes – this process hardens the acrylic.
The dental lab will install wire around the exterior of the teeth mold. This wire will prevent the teeth from moving forward over time. The wires for the interior and exterior portion of your teeth are welded to the clips at the back of the mold to keep them from moving.
The excess wire and acrylic is trimmed off using a grinding wheel to get rid of any sharp ends that could damage the inside of your mouth. The dental lab will then use a polishing wheel to give the retainer a shiny finish.
The finished retainer is sent back to your dentist who will have you put the retainer into your mouth to check it for functionality and comfort. If the retainer doesn't give you any problem, the dentist will have you wear it until they are satisfied your teeth have settled and you don't need the retainer anymore. Talk with a place like Aberdeen Dental Arts for more information about retainers and your orthodontic treatment.