The importance of Retainers after Braces



Whether you’ve had your braces on for years, or been wearing Invisalign aligners for a few months, it’s an exciting time when you finally have them removed or can quit wearing them. With this first step of orthodontic treatment completed, you can feel a little freer and smile a little brighter. But don’t get too carried away in your celebrations just yet – you’ve got a little further to go!

Whatever orthodontic method you used to straighten your teeth, there’s a second step of treatment necessary to round out the process and help maintain your beautiful new smile. Wearing a retainer regularly is an integral part of keeping your teeth in their new and improved positions, which is why our patients here at IOM Ortho will hear us drive that point home many, many times over the course of treatment!

Because routine retainer use is so essential to prevent your teeth from drifting back into their old placements, our team has put together this helpful guide to help you understand why retainers are so important after the first phase of orthodontic treatment.

So, what exactly is a retainer?
A retainer is a fairly straightforward orthodontic appliance that’ designed to fit your mouth. They’re made by taking a scan of your straightened teeth, then fabricated out of a clear plastic material (for an Essix retainer) or from wire and an acrylic material (for a Hawley retainer).

Most orthodontists now recommend that some type of retainer be worn part-time for the rest of your life after the teeth have been straightened. We know that sounds completely overwhelming at first! However, with a little patience and practice, wearing your retainer can easily become a part of your daily routine. Before you know it, wearing it a few nights a week while you’re sleeping will be all you need to keep your teeth in the desired positions permanently.  And you get the added bonus of easily whitening your teeth with the Eversmile Foam!

When you first wear the retainer, it may feel a little weird, and it can sometimes affect your speech temporarily. But even if there’s some initial discomfort, you’ll still need to commit to wearing it as recommended. Failing to do so can keep it from doing its job, which means your teeth could begin shifting back, eventually leaving you right where you started.

Gum and bone alignment

After your braces come off or your last Invisalign aligner is used, your teeth aren’t the only things we need to stay put! The gums and bones in your mouth will need to align to these new positions, too. The soft and hard tissues that are around the teeth can sometimes take a little longer to align to a different position, but by wearing your retainer as directed, you can help the gums and bones to realign, and your new bite to stabilize.

Teeth aren’t just fixed in the jaw. Each tooth is held in its socket by elastic ligaments that attach the roots to the bone. Those ligaments are living tissue affected by the movement of the teeth, and it’s actually this attachment that allows for the small movements of the teeth during treatment. When tension is placed in and around the teeth via braces or Invisalign, new ligaments, and sometimes even bone, are formed.

Once the remodelling phase has been completed, those tissues, ligaments, and bone will need time to stabilize. Without the help of a retainer to hold these new positions as they stabilize, the teeth will almost always migrate back to their old positions. It can take anywhere from several months to a few years for the new position of your teeth to become more permanent.


Here at IOM Ortho we will always keep your last scan taken at the time when your braces are removed – if you need a new retainer at any time, it is best to use this scan to make it and it usually takes only a few days.  So make sure you keep in touch when your treatment is finished!


Whiten teeth and clean retainers in one easy step!

Retainer gunk is a thing of the past with Eversmile white foam

Using patent pending EverClean™ technology, WhiteFoam breaks up organic stain particles that discolour the teeth and retainers/aligners.

It provides an easy, convenient way to remove nasty build up and gradually whitens teeth with no tooth sensitivity.

The minty taste also freshens breath – essential for Invisalign patients


Available now @ IOM Ortho


Alternative Treatment for Teenagers

We know teenagers have a lot to deal with ….finding their path, making friends and fitting in….exams …life gets so complicated for them!

Here @ IOM Ortho we know how important a smile can be for feeling confident, and for teenagers a full on brace face, or ‘Twin Blocks’ or the dreaded ‘blocks’ as they are commonly known might not help during this period in life.

We can now offer a much more aesthetic solution, to normal metal fixed braces and also to the blocks, which are commonly used to treat protrusive teeth.

Invisalign designed with teenagers in mind!

See below Twin blocks and Invisalign Teen:


What would your teenager prefer???????




Here at IOM Ortho we like to keep up with the times….so we can deliver the best care for our patients.

We have recently introduced the iTero 3D digital scanning system to our practice – a few of our lucky patients have tried it already!

The benefits are:

No more messy impression material. We simply wave a wand over your teeth that does the work, and we can view your teeth on the screen instantly
Allows us to get precise results from which to plan your treatment
We can show you a simulated outcome of your treatment before you start

What is the iTero scanner?
The iTero scanner is an orthodontic technology system which allows us to get an accurate impression of your teeth and jaws. The 3D scanner approach means we can get a clear view of the position of your teeth and the treatment you will require to straighten them.

What is the iTero scanner used for?
Previously, to get an accurate model of your teeth, we needed to take impressions using messy orthodontic material. The iTero Digital Scanner does away with that making the process much quicker, easier and more comfortable – for both you and us. It also gets much better results from which we can have Invisalign aligners made.
The iTero scanner can be used for any type of orthodontic problem, from jaw misalignment to issues such as crowding and spacing. It can also help us plan treatment for jaw conditions, such as an over or underbite. Whatever orthodontic treatment you need, we can start planning it with precision thanks to the iTero scanner.

See you soon @ IOM Ortho


When should children see an Orthodontist? The answer may surprise you!

I hear all the time, “My child’s teeth are straight so we don’t need to see an orthodontist” and “we still have baby teeth so there’s no reason to see you yet.”

This may seem to make sense, there are actually quite a few reasons you should see an orthodontist early- not doing so can have big implications. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children see an orthodontist at age 7.


Isle of Man Orthodontics agrees!

Early care, or phase I care, is orthodontic care when children still have baby teeth. I tell my patients that every child needs to be seen by age 7. Most of those children will not need early care, but for those who do need it, getting started at the appropriate age is vitally important. Even if early care is not needed, we get a baseline to monitor their growth and development over the next 3-5 years until it is time for care. We can also give peace of mind and education about what may be needed in the future. In certain situations, which I explore below, there is a reason to start early or phase 1 treatment while a child still has baby teeth and is growing. In those cases, it is paramount that they be seen early so their growth and development can occur with the guidance of an orthodontist.

Orthodontists are trained in craniofacial development as well as tooth development. We take into account skeletal growth patterns, muscle and soft tissue development, airway, and other issues as we consider the best treatment for our patients. While your child’s teeth may appear straight, a trained orthodontist can determine if the best treatment involves starting treatment at a younger age. Here are some of the reasons we may recommend early treatment for children ages 7-10.

Making room for the eruption of permanent teeth
Baby teeth are lost in a very specific order. Between ages 6-8, it is normal for a child to lose his/her front 8 baby teeth. Those are immediately replaced by the 8 permanent front teeth (4 upper front teeth and 4 lower front teeth). During this time, children should also get their first molars (sometimes called 6-year molars) in the very back of their mouth. If there are more or less teeth than this, it may mean something out of the ordinary is happening. If permanent teeth don’t have room to come in, the extraction of a baby tooth might prevent bigger problems later on. Also, if baby teeth are lost too soon, space maintainers may be needed to hold space until it is the normal time for a permanent tooth to erupt.

Traumatic bite
Although alignment issues can be corrected when patients are 11 or 12 and have all of their adult teeth, some alignment issues need to be corrected early. Crooked teeth can cause uneven wear to other teeth or even gum and bone loss due to trauma to the tooth when a child bites together. These are issues that need to be resolved immediately to prevent further damage.

Protrusive front teeth
Sometimes children have front teeth that stick out. Sometimes called “buck teeth,” this is neither safe, nor attractive.  Children with protruding front teeth are much more likely to break teeth and/or have teeth go through their lips if they were to fall or get hit in the mouth.
In addition, it can also be a major self-esteem issue if children are being bullied or teased at school about their teeth. For these reasons, we treat protrusive teeth at an early age to manage their smile and their confidence as they go through school.

Children can have crossbites in which the normal relationship of the top and bottom teeth is reversed. It needs to be resolved immediately to prevent problems in the future. Let’s talk about a few different types of crossbites and how to treat each.
The first is a dental crossbite in which a child’s jaws line up normally, but for whatever reason one or more teeth have not erupted into the correct relationship. This can cause a traumatic bite which, as we have said, can lead to bone and gum damage to those teeth involved. Thus, it needs to be treated immediately.

Another issue that can happen with a dental crossbite is a functional shift. If a child bites down and their front teeth hit edge to edge and don’t allow the back teeth to come together, a child will subconsciously shift the lower jaw forward to make their back teeth come together. The same thing can happen if a tooth hits edge to edge and a child shifts left or right to make their bite more comfortable. Both of these shifts will actually alter the way that the lower jaw develops and can lead to drastic asymmetry, such that the top and bottom jaws no longer fit together correctly. These must be corrected at a young age to eliminate the functional shift and prevent abnormal growth of the lower jaw.
The final crossbite we will discuss is a skeletal difference between the top and bottom jaw. For a number of reasons the top and bottom jaw can grow in different amounts. The lower jaw will continue to grow past puberty, however, the top jaw completes the majority of its growth by age 9 for girls and age 10 for boys. For this reason, if we have a need to alter the growth of the top jaw, we need to see the patient by age 7 so we can initiate care before the top jaw completes its growth and we are no longer able to manipulate it. For example, seen at a young age, a child can wear a simple expansion appliance for a year which allows the top jaw to develop wider. This eliminates crowding of the teeth and allows top teeth to fit correctly with bottom teeth. If the same patient is not seen at an early age, what could have been simple may become more complicated treatment involving removing permanent teeth or even surgery in the future.

Deepbite and Openbite
This is the last major reason we like to see patients by age 7. If a child’s front teeth overlap so much that you cannot see the lower teeth, we call this a deepbite. It can mean that the jaws are not developing correctly and could mean the patient is traumatizing the tissue behind their top front teeth when they bite together. The opposite of too much overlap of the front teeth is no overlap of the front teeth or an open bite. This can indicate a thumb or finger sucking habit, a tongue thrust habit, or again a skeletal discrepancy (the top and bottom jaws are growing away from each other instead of growing together). In any of these cases, again, we need to see the patient so we can address the issue and correct it so that normal development can occur.

Deep Bite

Open Bite

For children who have any of the issues listed above, it is vital that they are seen so their conditions can be identified and corrected as early as possible. Early care, or phase 1 care, can make the final result easier and faster, as well as give a child 3-5 years to enjoy a great smile during the critical years their self-image is developing.

If you have a child 7 or older who has not been seen by an orthodontist, phone to book a consultation today!



Early treatment before 10 years of age

Did you know that orthodontics can help treat breathing problems ?

Here at Isle of Man Orthodontics we frequently see children with poor breathing habits due to underdeveloped lower jaws – as a result they are unable to close their mouths properly and the teeth sit on the lips at rest

This can lead to increased risk of trauma, poor sleeping habits, reduced concentration at school, and an increase in allergies amongst others

Sound familiar?

We have a range of appliances designed for use in patients below 10 years of age to assist with normal development of the jaws and to promote normal breathing

This is easily treated at a young age:


Call us to find out more