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You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful, your teeth are straight and, best of all, your mouth is metal-free! However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite finished. To keep your smile looking its best, you need to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results.
What are retainers?
Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth.
Types of retainers
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.
Traditional removable retainers typically include a metal wire that surrounds the front teeth and is attached to an acrylic arch that sits in the roof of the mouth. The metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue minor movement of the front teeth as needed.
Aligner-style retainers or Essix retainers look similar to clear aligners and offer a more esthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer may fit over the entire arch of your teeth, or only from canine to canine (clip-on retainer). It is produced from a mold of your newly aligned teeth.
Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom and/or top teeth. While the device is usually required for no more than a year after wisdom teeth have been extracted, it is often kept in place for life.
Pros and cons of retainers
Removable retainers can be taken out for eating and hygiene routines.
Removable retainers can get lost easily, so remember to keep yours in the case whenever you remove it to eat or brush.
A fixed retainer is great if you don't want to keep track of it or if you don't want to worry about how many hours per day it must be worn.
Teeth with fixed retainers require a little extra attention to remove tartar while flossing. Patients with fixed retainers must use floss threaders to pass dental floss through the small spaces between the retainer and the teeth.
How to care for your retainer
Always wear your retainer as instructed. If you don’t, your teeth could move back into their old position.
Remember to take your retainer out when eating. While you have it out of your mouth, always keep it in its case to ensure it doesn’t get lost. Whatever you do, don’t wrap it up in a paper napkin. You don't want to mistake it for trash!
Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
Replacement retainers are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
To find out more about the role retainers play in your orthodontic treatment journey, book your consultation at our clinic in Beverly Hills today.
This is one of the best healthcare experiences I've had and strongly recommend Dr. Waldman to anyone seeking a good, competent orthodontist, whether it's for an adult or child.