Retainers 101
Posted on 02/02/2019
Retainers 101

Retainers 101

It’s the New Year, which means plenty of New Year’s resolutions. For 2019, make one of your resolutions to keep your teeth straight by properly using your retainer!

Orthodontists typically recommend wearing a retainer after completing orthodontic treatment. But what exactly is a retainer, why do you need to wear it, and how do you care for it?

What is a Retainer?

Retainers are custom-made orthodontic devices made to help prevent your teeth from moving out of their new straight positions after orthodontic treatment. There are three types of retainers we offer at our North Scarborough office: Essix, Hawley, and Fixed. Essix retainers are clear, removable, and do not involve any wires. Hawley retainers are also removable, but are made of a combination of wires and acrylic. Conversely, Fixed retainers, as the name implies, are fixed to the teeth and are not removable. Fixed retainers involve having thin wires attached to the back of the teeth with a special type of dental paste.

Some patients may have varying retention needs in terms of how long retainers should be worn. Typically we recommend a 12 month retention period; however, for the sake of your smile we ideally recommend wearing your retainers indefinitely. Your North Scarborough orthodontist will have the best recommendations on when to wear your retainers and for how long. Note that not following recommendations from your orthodontist could lead to your teeth shifting back to the positions they were in before you wore braces, so it is important to follow your specific dental care instructions.

How to Take Care of Your Retainers

Because retainers are generally worn daily per your orthodontist’s instructions, they should also be cleaned daily. Bacteria, plaque, and leftover food particles can easily stick to your retainers, so they should be soaked in mouthwash or a denture-cleaning agent to kill those germs and freshen the appliances up. Whenever you are not wearing your retainers, you may want to consider letting them soak as well because retainers are made of plastic and plastic can crack if it gets too dry; it should always stay moist. The plastic can also warp, so be sure not to use warm water or leave retainers near a heat source.

Furthermore, retainers can be expensive, so taking good care of these appliances as part of your dental care routine also means not losing them. If you lose a retainer please let us know at our North Scarborough office and we will create a replacement before your next visit. And if have any questions or concerns about your retainer, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Braceland Orthodontists Can Help You Keep Your Smile Straight!

Whether you need braces or a retainer, already have them, or just have questions about your appliances in general, your orthodontist and the whole team at Braceland Orthodontists are ready to help keep your smile straight by addressing all of your orthodontic needs! Schedule an appointment online today with our North Scarborough office!