Congratulations! You’ve finally made it through your braces treatment! Now your teeth are beautifully straight and properly aligned and you’re good to go! Well, sort of. As it turns out, if you want to keep the results of your braces for the rest of your life, there’s a little more that goes into it.
Types of Retainers We Offer
Did you know that there are different types of retainers? Here at Stellar Family Orthodontics, we offer three different retainer options: traditional removable retainers, aligner-style retainers, and fixed retainers.
The traditional removable retainers, or Hawley retainers, feature a metal wire that helps keep your teeth where they’re supposed to be. It gets attached to an acrylic arch that goes on the roof of your mouth. The nice thing about this type is that it can be adjusted to continue making minor adjustments to the teeth as needed.
Aligner-style retainers are also called Essix retainers. They are similar in appearance to clear aligners and can either fit over the whole arch of your teeth or clip on to the molars.
Unlike the other types of retainers, which are removable, fixed retainers become a permanent fixture in your mouth. They get bonded to the backs of the teeth. People who get this type usually keep them for life.
Using the Retainer
Retainers should be worn constantly for the first 4-6 months after your braces have been removed. After that, you can stick to just wearing them at night. If you have a removable retainer, only take it out for eating or brushing and flossing your teeth. If you have a fixed one, you’ll need to be a little more careful when flossing than you would if you didn’t have anything fixed to your teeth. You may find it helpful to use a floss threader to get to all the parts of your teeth.
Handling Retainer Problems
If you’re careful about how you handle your retainer, you shouldn’t have much in the way of problems with it. Still, accidents happen. If your retainer becomes damaged or needs to be replaced for any reason, make an appointment with Dr. Carver and Dr. Tori. Bring the retainer with you to your appointment. If it’s going to be a while, you could find your teeth shifting back to their old positions. In that case, wear a mouthguard temporarily at night to help prevent that from happening.
You just spent a fair amount of time and money on braces to give yourself a smile you can be proud to show off. Properly making use of a retainer is the best thing you can do to make sure you can keep your smile looking as perfect as possible for the rest of your life. Doesn’t that make it worth it?
Need an appointment with Dr. Tori or Dr. Carver? Schedule one today and we’ll see you soon!