Online Dental Education Library

Dr. Goldman and his staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions, please contact us.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among dentists in that they all have completed an additional four years of hospital-based training alongside medical residents, and can administer all types of anesthesia. If you have a diseased or impacted tooth that needs to come out, implants to be placed, a suspicious lesion that needs a biopsy, or any other oral health condition requiring surgical diagnosis or treatment, we can help. Learn more about Oral Surgery.

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the upper airway is blocked to the point of causing significant airflow disruption, or even no airflow whatsoever for 10 seconds or more. This can be a dangerous situation. Learn more about Snoring & Sleep Apnea.

Tooth Extractions

There are times when it is in your best interest to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons, including: damage or trauma to the tooth; an impacted wisdom tooth that may cause trouble for you later on; or overcrowding. Learn more about Tooth Extractions.

Implant Dentistry

Dental Implant Video

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that deteriorates when even one tooth is lost.

Oral Diagnosis & Biopsies

When it comes to detecting certain oral or systemic (whole-body) diseases, a thorough dental exam may be your first line of defense. Learn more about Oral Diagnosis & Biopsies.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting, a minor in-office surgical procedure, is commonly used in dentistry to correct deficiencies in bone quality and to build support for teeth or dental implants. Learn more about Bone Grafting.

Sedation Dentistry & Anesthesia

We want you to have the most comfortable dental treatment experience possible. That's why we offer sedation, to help you relax, and/or anesthesia, to block your sensations of pain. Learn more about Sedation Dentistry.

Facial Trauma & Reconstructive Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are capable of treating the full scope of injuries to the structures of the face, mouth or jaws — including the teeth, the bones of the jaws and face, and the tissue of the skin and gums. We can also treat congenital defects such as cleft palate.

TMJ Disorders

If you have chronic pain in or around your jaw, or find the movement of your jaw is restricted, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Learn more about TMJ Disorders.

Treating Dental Emergencies

We can treat a variety of traumatic dental injuries, including teeth that have been moved or knocked out entirely. Please call our office for assistance, or click here to learn more about what to do in a dental emergency.

One day in the not-too-distant future, your braces will come off. In a few moments, you'll be free of bands and brackets, able to eat what you want and run your tongue over smooth, clean teeth. But, even on this happy occasion, please remember that you're not quite done with orthodontic treatment yet: The next phase, called retention, is just beginning.

Family.

Retention is a critical follow-through stage that typically involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer. Several different kinds of retainers are available, all of which are custom-made.

But if your teeth are straight now, why do you need a retainer at all? Simply put, it's because if you don't wear one, your teeth will start moving right back to where they were!

Teeth aren't set rigidly in the jawbone — instead, they're held in place by a network of fibers called the periodontal ligaments. After they have being moved, it takes several months for the periodontal ligament to adjust to the new position. So if you want to keep that new smile — and not waste all the time, effort, and money it took to get it — it's essential to wear your retainer as directed.

Being fitted for a retainer usually happens on the same day your braces are removed. After your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, another set of X-rays and/or bite impressions may be taken to check how well your braces worked and to see how much your wisdom teeth have developed. Then, a retainer will be prepared for you.

Three Types of Retainers

Types of orthodontic retainers.

There are three basic types of retainers available today; each works best in particular situations. The most common is the so-called “Hawley” retainer — a thin, tongue-shaped piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth, with a wire that holds your teeth in position. The Hawley retainer is simple, durable and easily removed. It's even possible to personalize it by choosing different colors and designs for the plastic arch.

Another popular style of retainer is the clear aligner-type, which looks similar to the Invisalign® tray system. These retainers are custom-made of thin, transparent plastic designed to fit precisely over your teeth. Their main advantage is that they're invisible, with no wire to show. These retainers are also easy to remove, but they may be somewhat less durable than the Hawleys. They aren't recommended for patients with certain conditions, like teeth grinding.

Finally, fixed retainers may be an option for some people, especially on the lower front teeth. As their name implies, they aren't removable by the wearer — but they aren't visible either. Like lingual braces, this system uses a wire which is bonded to the tongue side of the teeth. It may remain in place for months, or longer. This type of retainer is sometimes recommended when there's a high risk that teeth could revert to their former position.

A Period of Adjustment

After a short time, most people adjust quite well to wearing a retainer. Some may find that they produce more saliva than usual for a day or so after first wearing any type of retainer — a normal reaction to a foreign object in the mouth. You may also find it a little harder to talk normally at first, but that problem will soon disappear. Of course, removable retainers should always be taken out when you eat or brush your teeth — a big change from braces!

At first, you will probably be told to wear your removable retainer all day, every day. This period of 24/7 retainer use generally lasts from several months to a year. Later, it may be OK to wear it only at night. Finally, you'll probably need to put it on just a few nights a week.

Maintaining — and Retaining — Your Retainer

How to Clean Removable Retainers

To stay fresh and germ-free, all retainers need proper cleaning. A Hawley-type retainer can be brushed gently with a regular toothbrush — but a brush may scratch the clear aligner types. Denture cleaners, in powder or tablet form, as well as special retainer cleaners, can be used to clean most removable retainers. Fixed retainers are cleaned by brushing and flossing; a floss threader or interproximal brush can also be a helpful cleaning tool when needed.

Finally, remember to always carry — and use — a retainer case. You'd be surprised how many retainers end up folded in a napkin and accidentally discarded! Also, don't expose your retainer to excess heat by washing it in very hot water or leaving it on a heater: That can cause the retainer to warp and make it unusable. With proper care and conscientious use, a retainer can help you transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.

Related Articles

Orthodontic Retainers - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers Decades ago, orthodontists used to think that once teeth were moved into the “right” positions, they would stay there forever. Research over the past thirty years has shown that this is not true — there is no “right” position that can assure a permanent, unchanging result. The only way to be sure the alignment of your teeth and your bite remains stable after orthodontic treatment is to wear retainers as needed and as directed by your orthodontist or dentist... Read Article

Orthodontic Retainers - Dear Doctor Magazine

Why Orthodontic Retainers? It is common to wear retainers following orthodontic treatment or what people commonly refer to as braces, for good reason. Teeth must be “retained” or stabilized in their new position long enough for the gum tissue, bone and ligament to reform and mature around them, which can take several months. The teeth will tend to relapse into their old position quite rapidly if the retainers are not worn... Read Article


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