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 back 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
Retainer are custom made for your smile and adjusted periodically by Dr. Hatcher to keep your teeth in the desired positions. At Reach Orthodontics, we prescribe retainers based on what the initial issues were and based on what we are trying to retainer. With great cooperation, retainers are very effective in securing a lasting smile. It is imperative to wear your retainer as instructed by Dr. Hatcher to maintain your orthodontic corrections.
HAWLEY/MODIFIED SPRING RETAINER
These are the standard retainers. They are removable retainers made of metal wires and sturdy acrylic designed to keep your teeth in place. These retainers are custom made from impressions of your teeth to fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect positions. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of bright, fun colors.
This type of retainer is made of clear plastic molded to a model of the straightened teeth. People like this type of retainer because it is less noticeable than a Hawley retainer. However, they don’t allow your top and bottom teeth to touch in a natural way. Clear retainers have a shorter lifespan than Hawley retainers and 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. . On average, they begin to wear out after a few years, and then need to be replaced periodically.
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.
- Clean 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.
- Clear retainers should be cleaned with cool water and soap. Tooth brushing and toothpaste can dull the clear look of the retainers.
- 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.