After your braces come off retainers are used to keep your teeth, gums, and bone in position so that they can settle and become adjusted to their new positions. It is very critical that you wear your retainer during this time after your braces.
Why do I need retainers after braces?
Although our teeth will move throughout our lives, the time they want to move more than even is after your braces come off. Retainers help keep teeth in place to maintain your new smile after your braces have come off. After your braces come off and the retainers are put on your teeth, bone, and gums will adjust and settle in their new permanent positions. Retainers keep the teeth from shifting back into their original positions prior to braces.
What are the different types of retainers?
There are two types of retainers available to patients: Fixed and removal. Selection of removable retainers or fixed depends on the problems your teeth originally had and the tendency for your teeth to move after your braces have been removed. Each type of retainer has their specific purpose and use. We will determine which type will be best for you after your braces have been removed.
Removable Wire and Acrylic Retainers
Wire and acrylic retainers are removable custom-made retainers that clasp onto the teeth. These retainers have a wire on the front of the teeth that holds them in place on the outside and hard acrylic or plastic that covers the inside of the teeth. They also have some coverage of the palate for rigidity
Removable Vacuum-formed Retainers
Vacuum-formed Retainers are often called invisible because they look like Invisalign aligners. They are removable custom-made retainers that cover the teeth completely with a clear plastic. Vacuum-formed retainers are less conspicuous and easier to wear than wire and acrylic retainers.
Clear Dental Retainer Fixed/ Permanent Retainers
Fixed retainers are customized wires that are bonded or fixed permanently onto the back side of your front teeth. Extra care must be taken to brush and floss between teeth to maintain good oral health. Fixed retainers cannot be removed by the patient and may need to be kept in place indefinitely. Since lower teeth have the greatest tendency to move as we mature, we use these retainers frequently for the lower front teeth. Attaching fixed retainers on upper teeth is more difficult since the lower teeth often hit behind the upper incisors on closure.
How do I care for my retainer?
Retainers are like any other orthodontic appliance and must be treated with care. We recommend the following tips to enhance the life of your retainer:
Wear your retainer as we recommend and rinse it especially after eating.
Clean your vacuum-formed retainer daily by soaking in a denture cleaner in a cup of water. Be sure to rinse your retainer off before putting it back in your mouth. A wire and acrylic retainer can be cleaned with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins because it will distort your retainer.
Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
When to see your hygienist, bring you retainer and they can clean it with an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any calculus deposits
Once we recommend that you wear your retainer less, be sure to keep your retainer in its case to protect it. Never you’re your retainer in a napkin of tissue, because someone else may throw it away. Also, keep your retainer away from dogs and cats because pets love to chew on them!
Always bring your retainers to your appointments. Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care they will last for years!
For your fixed retainer, be sure to floss and brush it well. If your fixed retainer becomes detached from any of the teeth, please call the office immediately.
How long do I have to wear my retainer?
Initially, your retainer needs to be worn all the time. After about 3-6 months,we may recommend that you decrease the daily wearing time. This schedule will vary from patient to patient. Most patients will need to continue some retainer wear indefinitely to maintain the beautiful results. Because teeth continue to move throughout life, we may recommend that you continue to wear your retainers as instructed to keep your teeth straight.