After you have finished with braces, your orthodontist will give you a retainer to help keep the work of moving your teeth, stay intact. Retainers help maintain your smile and stop your teeth from adjusting. Bailey Orthodontics is here to help you learn more about your retainer, how to care for it, how to clean it, and why retainers are necessary for your newly aligned teeth.
Different Types Of Retainers
Not all retainers are treated equally and there are many options for keeping your teeth in the ideal position. Your orthodontist might give you a removable or permanent retainer. Below is some more information about each type of retainer.
Fixed Or Bonded (Permanent): These retainers are made to stay in your mouth indefinitely and keep your teeth from gaping or adjusting. Permanent retainers don’t require instructions or remembering to wear them. These types of retainers can last for years. This also means that they need to be regularly cleaned and inspected to avoid gum disease.
Hawley (Removable): These retainers are plastic and metal and can be removed. The biggest benefit of these retainers is that they can be adjusted and customized to any color you like. They are durable, just like permanent retainers but can be easily lost. They can also harbor bacteria if not properly cleaned. Removing these while eating can make life easier and keep them cleaner.
Clear Plastic Retainers (Removable): Clear retainers are really common and are often more affordable. While they are more comfortable with their thin and invisible design, they last for a shorter time than the other retainers. Over time, you may need to have new impressions and a new retainer as life changes. These retainers are also removable and need to be cleaned regularly.
What If I Stopped Wearing My Retainer?
For those that stopped wearing their retainer, you may have experienced shifting and moving in your mouth. Retainers are designed to keep your new aligned smile in the perfect position. Wearing your retainer constantly helps keep teeth from moving back to their original place. As time goes on, you may be able to wear your retainers less, but when you stop wearing them, you can experience dental problems.
Even with permanent retainers, your teeth can still move around. Keep in mind that wearing your retainer can save you from spending more money on repeating orthodontic treatment down the road.
Wearing A Retainer Without Braces
Oftentimes, patients have small issues that can be fixed by wearing a retainer alone, without actual braces. Invisalign is considered a type of retainer that doesn’t require metal hardware. Small gaps, single tooth adjustments, and other minor oral issues can be aligned with retainers.
Tongue issues including thrush or issues from thumb sucking can be helped with a retainer. Retainers can block your tongue from putting too much force on your front teeth, keeping it on the roof of your mouth.
Do They Need To Be Replaced?
Wear and tear can impact your retainer and cause it to be damaged or need to be replaced. If your retainer doesn’t fit anymore or has become cloudy, it may be time to replace the retainer. You can set up a yearly or six-month plan with your orthodontist to reevaluate your retainer and get a new one when necessary. This helps ensure that you are wearing the correct retainer and don’t miss important shifts in your mouth.
If your retainer has sharp edges, cracks, or broken parts, you will need a new one. New retainers need to be molded to your teeth and fit by your orthodontist, so schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Care Tips For Retainers
Regular cleaning for your retainer helps prevent harmful bacteria from invading your mouth. These bacteria can cause gum disease, cavities, and other issues.
Keeping your retainer in proper shape means keeping it from heat, getting broken, or bent. Retainers should be kept in your bathroom at room temperature, away from pets, and off of the floor.
Retainer soaks can also help effectively clean your retainer. While brushing and rinsing your retainer is a good way to clean it, these washes can help remove hidden buildup and bacteria. Make sure that you also brush your teeth before and after putting in your retainer to keep food particles out.
How Long Will I Need To Wear It?
After you have your braces removed, you may think that your teeth will remain perfect forever. Wearing your retainer will be required for the foreseeable future. After a while, you may be able to wear your retainer just in the evening or limit it to 3 times a week. Suggested wear will vary from patient to patient and if you have a permanent retainer.
Work With Bailey Orthodontics
Orthodontic treatment with Bailey Orthodontist can help you achieve your dream smile with proper orthodontic care and dental treatment. Keeping up with retainer maintenance and working with our office can improve the look of your mouth. Our team works to make you comfortable at each visit and gives you all the information you need to make smart decisions about oral health. Contact our Bountiful, UT office to schedule your appointment today!