How to Make the Most of Your Retainer Treatment

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Whether you’ve just had your braces taken off or you’ve finished your series of clear aligner trays, the next step in your orthodontic treatment journey is wearing a retainer. Read on to find out how to make the most of your retainer treatment.

It can be such a relief to finally finish your orthodontic treatment. You don’t have to wear your clear aligners anymore, or your braces can be removed. After all, your teeth are straight and aligned, and it’s time to reveal your brilliant new smile.

However, the work doesn’t stop at the end of your braces or clear aligners. The next phase is wearing a retainer, and it’s equally as important as your initial orthodontic treatment. 

Retainers are custom-made devices designed to hold your straight smile in place while bone tissue forms around and stabilizes each tooth’s new position. It’s vital that you diligently wear and care for your retainer to “retain” your new smile, otherwise, your teeth can shift right back to where they were. 

At Hanachi Orthodontics in Gastonia and Mooresville, North Carolina, Farid Hanachi, DDS, PA, and the rest of our team are passionate about orthodontics and what they can do for your oral health, and this includes retainers

In this month’s blog, we discuss how to make the most of your retainer treatment.

The different types of retainers

How you care for your retainer varies depending on the kind that you have. So it’s helpful to first take a look at each one individually. Here are the different types of retainers that we offer at Hanachi Orthodontics:

Removable retainers

Removable retainers are the most common type of retainer, and you can take them out and put them back in all on your own. 

Traditional Hawley retainers are made of a combination of plastic and metal. A metal wire goes on the front portion of your teeth, and hard plastic goes directly behind your teeth. The other choice for removable retainers is a little more discreet. It consists of a moldable hard plastic that’s very similar to clear aligner trays. 

You need to wear this type of retainer at all times except cleanings and meals. 

Fixed retainers

A fixed retainer is a wire device that’s bonded to the back side of your teeth, and you won’t be able to remove it on your own. We typically recommend this type of retainer when you need to wear one at all times to ensure your teeth stay in place. 

How to properly care for your retainer

If you don’t take good care of your retainer, it can become damaged or lost. Make sure you call us right away if you end up with a malformed or missing retainer since going without it increases the risk of your teeth shifting. 

Here are some ways you can ensure your retainer stays in tip-top shape:

Always use a retainer case

When you’re not wearing a retainer, always place it in your provided case since using a case mitigates your risk of losing it. In addition, using a case rather than throwing your retainer in a pocket or wrapping it up in a napkin reduces your risk of damaging it or accidentally tossing it in the trash. 

Clean your retainer often

Every time you remove your retainer, you need to clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste before putting it back in. Cleaning your retainer regularly ensures that bacteria won’t be able to linger and build up on its surface, reducing your risk of cavities and other oral health issues. 

You can clean your fixed retainer while you’re brushing and flossing your teeth. 

Watch what you eat and drink

Always remove your retainers before you eat or drink any beverage that isn’t water. Doing this ensures that food and beverages won’t get stuck between your retainer and the surface of your teeth which reduces both the risk of staining and tooth decay.

To learn more about retainers — whether it’s how to wear them or care for them, schedule an appointment by calling your nearest office location or booking online today.