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
Clear retainers are our standard retainers. They are made of clear plastic molded to a model of the straightened teeth. Patients like this type of retainer because they are thinner, lighter, are less noticeable, and have less of an impact on the speech. Clear retainers cover the teeth which can be helpful if the patients want to whiten their teeth, but they also tend to trap food between the retainer and the teeth. For these reasons, Patients have to be careful in how they handle the retainers and be especially careful to clean the teeth before placing the retainers.
HAWLEY/MODIFIED SPRING RETAINER
They are removable retainers made of metal wires and sturdy acrylic designed to keep your teeth in place. These retainers are custom-made for your mouth to fit snugly and comfortable, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic and also be personalized with a large number of bright, fun colors.
BONDED OR FIXED RETAINER
Bonded lingual retainers are used in somewhat special cases. Since bonded retainers require more home care regarding brushing and flossing and special attention to diet to prevent the retainer from coming loose, they are only used in cases of extreme initial crowding or cases where initial spaces won’t stay closed. This type of retainer is actually a metal wire bonded (glued) to the back of your teeth to keep them in place. They are not visible to others and do an excellent job maintaining your new, beautiful smile provided they are kept clean and stay attached. Bonded retainers cannot be removed. The best part is you will not lose it!
Reach Orthodontics suggests the following tips to ensure that your retention plan is successful:
● Wear your retainer at all times, unless Dr. Hatcher instructs otherwise.
● Rinse the retainers with water after they are removed from your mouth.
● 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.
● Take your retainers out when eating and always put them back in the case!
● 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.
● Retainers can be rinsed with mouthwash, but should never be soaked in mouthwash.
● When your retainers are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in the 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 a retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
● 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.