After orthodontic treatment is completed, it’s not the end. There is another step necessary to maintain the position of your teeth, which are held in place by periodontal ligaments. After movement of the teeth, the ligaments need to adjust to their new positions. There is an appliance that’s essential for maintaining your amazing new smile.
Retainers are customized appliances designed to help keep your teeth in their new position. The retainers can be fixed or removable depending upon the individual needs of the patient.
Basic Retainer Types
Hawley Retainer — This custom-made retainer is removable and has wires attached to an acrylic base. The wires rest against the front teeth, and the metal loops near the canines are adjusted as the teeth settle. The retainer is durable and adjustable.
Clear Plastic Retainer — The retainer resembles the clear aligners used in orthodontic treatment and is custom-made to help the teeth maintain their new position. This option is discreet and easy to clean.
Fixed Retainer — This retainer uses wire bonded to the back of the teeth. It’s not removable, so pay close attention to oral hygiene because the teeth the wire rests against are more difficult to clean.
To avoid a buildup of bacteria, keep your retainers clean. Rinse removable retainers with warm water when you take them out of your mouth. Soak them in a retainer or denture cleaning solution as directed. If you have fixed retainers, use floss threaders to floss the teeth where the wires are attached. Practice good oral hygiene and get regular exams and cleanings.
When treatment ends, we’ll clean your teeth. Also, you may need x-rays or bite impressions to measure the success of treatment. We check the position of the wisdom teeth to see if removal is required to avoid shifting the teeth. Then, we’ll recommend the proper retainer for you.
When you receive your retainers, there may be a short period of adjustment. Wear your retainers as instructed. Keep removable retainers in a case when not in use. If you lose or damage your retainers, have them replaced.
If you have questions, contact our office. Do you have friends or family who need orthodontic treatment? We’re here to help.