Orthodontic restraint

Orthodontic restraint is very important. Why?

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You cannot wait to remove your orthodontic appliance and admire your new smile, but you were told to wear the orthodontic restraint? 

Orthodontic restraint, why? Let’s explain it in simple words.

It may seem like the treatment is being protracted, but remember that the orthodontic restraint is essential to keep the results you have reached. 
Without this device your teeth will tend to return to their initial position…

Were you told that after removing the fixed appliance you need to wear a mobile one for some time? 
If it sounds like you are about to start a new treatment period, this is not the case since, as far as effort and aesthetics, the restraint is nowhere near comparable to the appliance. 

Let’s find out WHY the orthodontic restraint is so important.

Those wearing an orthodontic appliance cannot wait to see how their smile will look like at the end of the treatment, admire the harmony and the nice straight teeth, especially if compared to how they looked like in an old picture… 

However, in order to keep the results obtained, it will be necessary to wear a restraint appliance without which teeth will tend to go back to their initial position because, as all other organs, they have a “position memory” which they tend to summarize, especially if they are stressed by the pressure exercised by chewing or tongue, lips and cheek muscles. 

For this reason, the restraint period is extremely important and is part of the orthodontic treatment to all effects. It should not be underestimated, penalty the risk of losing the dental alignment earned with commitment. 

The restraint appliance acts like a dental maintenance force until the bone growth of the maxillaries and the stomatognathic system has been completed. 

Types of di orthodontic restraints

Restraints differ from each other based on the type of treatment performed and, in most cases, they are almost invisible and not very invasive. The main ones are: 

  • mobile or removable restraint appliances: they look like a transparent thermoplastic resin mask;
  • palatal restraint appliances: used when a bigger restraint is needed. They look like a resin plate adherent to the palate and a wire surrounding the external dental surface. It is worn for half a day for the first 3 months and later on only during the night; 
  • fixed restraint appliances: they do not require patient commitment as they are glued. They consist of a metal wire which is usually applied on the inner surface of upper or lower incisors, preventing teeth from moving. 
When to use the restraint appliance: 

In most cases the mobile restraint should be worn for 14 hours a day (during the night + 5 hours during the day) for the first 3 months. After this initial period, it should be worn exclusively during the night for about two years, but the doctor will provide you with specific indications based on your needs.
The correct use of the restraint prevents adverse dental movements. After the first two years, its use will be at the patient discretion. 

How to keep the restraint 

Mobile restraint appliances should be removed to eat and kept in the supplied case. They should be washed with toothpaste, or soap, and water and never go near heat sources. 
As all other mobile orthodontic appliances, if not cleaned and hygienized daily and correctly, restraints could bring traces of dirt, food and therefore germs inside the mouth, thus favoring the accumulation of tartar. 
Also keep in mind that checkups with the orthodontist are extremely important to monitor the evolution of the position of dental elements, especially in teenagers until growth is complete, and to check the conservation status of the fixed restraint with metal wire.

Other question or doubts? Please, feel free to contact our office.