ALTHOUGH IT MAY SEEM hard to believe during the process, one day those braces will come off and it will be time for retainers from your New Jersey or Pennsylvania orthodontist. Remember that while braces straighten teeth, retainers KEEP them straight. They are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment! So, what kinds of retainers do you have to choose from after braces?
We Help Find the Retainer That Suits You Best
Choosing which type of retainer is right for you can depend on how your orthodontic treatment went, your level of oral hygiene, whether or not you grind your teeth, your personal preference, etc. Depending on your unique situation, we will recommend the type of retainer that will be best for you and your lifestyle.
Retainers Come in Three Basic Types
There are several different types of retainers to choose from. Here are the three most popular!
- The Hawley Retainer: This is the most popular type of retainer and definitely the most durable. The Hawley retainer has an acrylic body with a metal wire that goes around the teeth. It is easily removed and can be adjusted if minor tooth movements are necessary.
- The Essix Retainer: Another type of removable retainer, the Essix looks more like an Invisalign tray than a traditional retainer. It is made of thin, transparent plastic designed to fit precisely over your teeth. People love the Essix retainer because it is not as visible as the Hawley.
- The Fixed Retainer: This virtually invisible retainer consists of a small wire bonded to the tongue side of the lower and sometimes upper front teeth. Since permanent retainers cannot be removed on a regular basis, wearers of this type of retainer need to be consistent in their oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing regularly.
Whatever retainer you choose, the most important thing you can do is wear them as directed by your orthodontist and clean them regularly!
Be Sure to Take Proper Care of Your Retainer
Dish Soap and baking soda work well to clean a removable retainer. Scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and mild dish soap. Rinse thoroughly. Or if you’d rather opt for baking soda, wet your toothbrush and sprinkle some on the head. Scrub and rinse well with warm water.
For a deeper clean, we can help! If you feel that over time your retainers need a more thorough cleaning, we have a tool in our office that can help. And, of course, we jump at any opportunity to see our patients!
Don’t Let It Get Lost or Damaged
We’ve all heard the retainer horror stories — throwing it away with your school lunch, leaving it on the table only to find it later, a mangled mess in your dog’s mouth. Here are some tips to help you protect your investment:
- Do not use toothpaste to clean your retainer (unless it is non-abrasive). The majority of toothpastes contain abrasive substances that can scratch your retainer, damaging its appearance over time and creating places where bacteria can collect.
- When your retainer isn’t in your mouth, keep it in your case and out of reach of small children or pets.
- Never boil or use hot water to rinse your retainer. You wouldn’t want it to melt or change shape.
- Avoid wrapping it up in napkins so it doesn’t accidentally get thrown away.
- If you choose to place your retainer in mouthwash for that fresh, minty taste, make sure it’s a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol can cause damage to the retainer acrylic.
Keep Your Smile Straight and Your Bite Perfect
By wearing your retainer, you can make the transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile! If you have any questions about the kinds of retainers we offer or their maintenance, give us a call or come in to see us! We’re always happy to see our awesome patients. You can learn more about us by checking our business page, and make sure to get directions before heading our way.