MAINTAINING YOUR BEAUTIFUL SMILE

It is an exciting day when you get your braces off. Once your beautiful healthy smile is achieved, your braces will be removed and you will move into the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment. Retention is a critical part of your orthodontic journey as it preserves your smile and keeps your teeth from moving out of alignment. You have put hard work into achieving your smile and so it makes sense that you would want to maintain it.

TYPES OF RETAINERS

At Reach Orthodontics, we prescribe custom-made retainers based on the initial alignment issues and periodically check to assure your teeth stay in the desired positions over time. When used with great cooperation, retainers are overwhelmingly effective in securing a smile that lasts. It is imperative to wear your retainer as instructed by Dr. Hatcher to maintain your orthodontic corrections.

CLEAR RETAINER

Clear retainers made of tough plastic, molded to models of straightened teeth, are the standard used for most patients. While these retainers are very effective, they have the added benefits of being thinner, lighter, less noticeable, with less impact on your speech. In addition, they can be used as trays used to whiten the teeth. Patients should be careful using these retainers. Cavities, tooth stains, or white spots can result if food gets trapped between the retainers and your teeth. So, be especially careful to clean your teeth before placing the retainers.

  • Standard and most popular model
  • Reduces impact on speech
  • Thin, less noticeable, and clear
  • Effective for keeping a beautiful smile

Food getting between your retainer and your teeth?

  • Be sure to clean your teeth before placing your retainer
  • With the retainers in, drink only water. No sugary drinks
  • Clear retainers are easy to lose. Use your case
  • Follow all instructions from Dr. Hatcher

HAWLEY/MODIFIED SPRING RETAINER

Upper Hawley and Lower Modified Spring Retainers are made of metal wires and sturdy acrylic specifically designed to keep your teeth in place. These durable removable retainers fit your mouth snugly and comfortably, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect positions. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of bright and fun colors.

  • Removable retainer
  • Customizable colors
  • Comfortable and snug
  • Keeps teeth in a perfect position

BONDED OR FIXED RETAINER

Bonded Lingual Retainers are used in special or unique cases. Since bonded retainers require more at-home care with brushing, flossing, and special attention to diet to prevent the retainer from coming loose, this model is only used in cases of extreme initial crowding or cases where initial spaces won’t stay closed. We want our patients to have a smooth and comfortable interaction with their retainer. This model is actually a metal wire bonded (glued) to the back of your teeth to keep them in place. It’s not visible to others and does an excellent job maintaining your new, beautiful smile (provided it’s kept clean and attached). Since bonded retainers cannot be removed, they can never be lost!

  • Used for unique and complicated cases
  • Requires diligent hygiene maintenance
  • Metal wire glued to the back of your teeth
  • Cannot be removed

RETAINER INSTRUCTIONS

Reach Orthodontics suggests the following tips to ensure that your retention plan is successful:

  • Wear your retainers as directed by Dr. Hatcher
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
  • Rinse the retainers with water after they are removed from your mouth and before they are placed back in your mouth.
    • Retainers can be rinsed with mouthwash, but should never be soaked in mouthwash. 
    • Take your retainers out when eating and always put them in the case!
  • Never wrap your retainers in a napkin, or place them on a lunch tray. 90% of the retainers are lost when they are mistaken for trash or thrown away off of a lunch tray.
    • When your retainers are not in your mouth, they should always be in the case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Let us know if you need an additional retainer case. Most find it is very helpful to have a case that stays in their sports bag or band instrument case.
  • Clear retainers should be cleaned with cool water and soap. Tooth brushing and toothpaste can dull the clear look of the retainers.
  • Clean the Hawley/Modified Spring Retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Retainer Brite and Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but they do not take the place of brushing.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or you believe adjustment is needed, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Remove your retainers when you go swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine and don’t attempt to clean them using the dishwasher.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If a retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.

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