Retainers are the most significant components of your orthodontic treatment. They’re designed to keep the teeth in place after removing your braces. Here are some guidelines that can help you make the most out of your retainer experience
The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Retainers
- Wear your retainers as directed by your orthodontist. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on how often and long to wear them.
- Keep your retainers clean by gently brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water.
- Go for regular dental checkups. It ensures your teeth are well aligned and your retainer is fitting. If you notice any issues, contact your orthodontist.
- Keep your retainers in their case when not in use to prevent loss.
- If your retainers feel uncomfortable, contact your orthodontist for adjustments.
- If you use removable retainers, remove them before eating or drinking. You can only drink water with them.
- Gradually decrease the time you wear your retainers to nights only after several months, as directed by your orthodontist.
- Maintain your oral hygiene. It helps keep your teeth and retainer healthy. Brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for cleanings and checkups.
- Never forget to wear your retainers; skipping wear can result in teeth shifting out of place.
- Avoid soaking your retainers in hot water, as they can warp or lose shape.
- Don’t chew gum or eat sticky or hard foods while wearing your retainers. It can damage them.
- Don’t clean your retainers with harsh chemicals or abrasive toothpaste. It can scratch or damage the plastic.
- Don’t leave your retainers in direct sunlight, causing them to warp or discolor.
- Don’t wear retainers when participating in contact sports or swimming.
Importance of Wearing Retainers after Orthodontic Treatment
After completing orthodontic treatment, retainers help maintain the results of your treatment.
Prevent Teeth from Shifting
After removing your braces, your teeth can return to their original position. The ligaments and tissues holding your teeth need time to adjust to their new position. Therefore, you need retainers to keep your teeth in their new position and prevent them from shifting back.
Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth and corrects your bite. Wearing retainers after treatment helps stabilize your bite by allowing your jaw and teeth to settle into new positions. It also helps to prevent any relapse in bite correction.
Wearing retainers after orthodontic treatment enhances the appeal of your smile. You’ll have straight and beautiful teeth boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
Prevent Gum Disease
When teeth shift, they create spaces, making cleaning difficult and increasing the buildup of plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease. Retainers prevent teeth from moving and keep them in their position for easy cleaning.
Improve Oral Health
Misaligned teeth cause oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain. Wearing retainers after orthodontic treatment helps maintain the proper alignment of your teeth and improve oral health.
Retainers are a cost-effective way to maintain the results of your treatment after orthodontic treatment.
Types of Retainers
Hawley retainers, also known as wire retainers, are the most common. They have a wire that wraps over the front teeth and a plastic base that fits over the roof or bottom of your mouth. The stainless steel or titanium wire is adjustable to allow adjustments when necessary. They are also removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.
They are clear and fit over your teeth like a mouthguard. The retainers are made from transparent plastic and custom-fit to your teeth. Unlike Hawley retainers, Essix retainers are not adjustable. You must replace them if they get damaged or loose. They’re recommended for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic problems.
Bonded Lingual Retainers
These are fixed retainers attached to the back of your teeth, making them invisible when you smile. They are made from a thin wire bonded to the lingual surface of your teeth using a dental adhesive. Bonded lingual retainers require special care to maintain since they are permanent.
How to Care for Your Retainers
Care and maintenance help prolong your retainers’ lifespan and ensure they are effective. Here are tips for caring for your retainers:
- Clean your retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water to remove the buildup of bacteria and food particles.
- Don’t use toothpaste or harsh chemicals to clean your retainers; they scratch the plastic and damage the retainers.
- Keep retainers in their case when not in use to avoid damage or loss.
- Don’t use hot water on our retainers, as it can cause them to warp or lose shape.
- Don’t chew gum, or eat sticky or hard foods while wearing your retainers, as this can damage them.
Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing Retainers
- Skipping or forgetting to wear your retainers
- Ignoring signs of wear and tear on your retainers
- Waiting too long to replace worn-out or damaged retainers
- Not cleaning your retainers properly
- Losing or misplacing your retainers
When to See a Dentist
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to see a dentist:
- Your retainer needs to be fitting correctly.
- Your retainer feels loose in your mouth, or you can push it out with your tongue.
- Your bite feels different than usual.
- The wire has become loose and is sticking out of one end of the retainer.
Discover How to Prolong the Life of Your Retainers
Wearing retainers is essential in maintaining the alignment of your teeth and achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. Remember to clean your retainers daily, store them in their case when not in use, and avoid eating or chewing with them in place. If you have trouble removing or caring for your retainers, contact your orthodontist for assistance.
Following these simple steps, you can keep your retainers in excellent condition and enjoy a beautiful smile for years.