Hey, it looks like someone’s braces are finally off! If you’ve landed here, chances are you just had your braces removed. Congrats, that’s amazing! We’re so proud of you for sticking with your treatment plan!
Now that your braces are gone, it doesn’t mean you’re done with taking care of your pearly whites. We’re talking about your retainer, folks! But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Dr. Caballero and the team at Master Orthodontics want to make sure you’re set up for success. That’s why we put together this little guide on the importance of wearing your retainer. We’ll go over why it’s crucial to clean and care for your retainer as well, so let’s dive in!
Why Wear a Retainer?
Orthodontic specialists agree – retainers are the single-biggest factor in whether or not your post-treatment smile stays straight!
Here at Master Orthodontics, we know you may want to put any and all appliances behind you after getting your braces off. But be careful! The fact is, improper retainer use is the most common reason for orthodontic relapse. But never fear! Dr. Caballero will prescribe the right post-treatment retainer for you, and give you detailed instructions on how to ensure your smile stays looking great for a lifetime!
Background Info On Your Retainer.
Since your retainer will be in your mouth most of the day for at least a couple months after your braces come off (hint, hint!), there is plenty of time for harmful bacteria and the leftover food particles that can lead to the plaque to accumulate. Dr. Caballero can give you specific directions, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll want to clean your retainer daily. A good time for this is at the same time you brush your teeth.
Cleaning Your Retainer.
Depending on your specific retainer type, your cleaning procedure may vary slightly. The three types of retainers are as follows:
While less common than removable retainers, a fixed option can take a lot of the pressure off since you won’t have to worry about forgetting to wear them! However they come with a lot of disadvantages, please ask Dr. Caballero to determine if fixed retainers are for you!
Your fixed retainer works by being glued to the back or “lingual” side of the front teeth. Generally, a specialized dental stainless steel wire is used to keep your teeth from relapsing to their old positions. If using a fixed retainer, be sure to brush and floss diligently in the space surrounding the wire, as the little nooks and crannies make it a favorite spot for plaque and debris! It’s important to angle your brush to reach the space behind your fixed retainer. Always brush thoroughly, but not so aggressively that you damage the wire!
Even though it can present a bit of a challenge at first, it’s vital to floss regularly with your fixed retainer. Waterpiks or a floss threader can be a great tool to make it easier on you while ensuring a deep clean. It’s a good idea to avoid or moderate certain foods that can damage a fixed retainer, such as crunchy or sticky snacks, and keep up with regular dental visits to keep plaque and cavities under control.
Be sure and come to Dr. Caballero with any questions!
These may be what comes to mind when you think of retainers.
Kept in place by a wire that wraps around the teeth, combined with an acrylic arch that rests against the roof of the mouth, the Hawley Retainer is removable. This makes cleaning a more straightforward prospect.
Be sure to clean your Hawley Retainer daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria. Your removable retainer should always stay in its case when not in use. Go ahead and remove your retainer before eating and drinking. This simplifies clean-up and ensures your retainer stays hygienic and fresh!
A newer option, and one that grows increasingly popular with dentists and orthodontists each year, the Essix Retainer is similar to clear aligners like Invisalign. Like Invisalign, they mold to the shape of your teeth. Also, like Invisalign, they’re a breeze to clean! Just pop them out before your morning and nightly brush sessions, being sure to dry them immediately, so saliva doesn’t have a chance to accrue. Then, you can brush your retainer right alongside your teeth!
You can mix mild dish soap with water or just cold water will do.
Be sure and keep good track of your Essix. Just like a Hawley retainer, since you can remove it, you can lose it! It’s vital to always store your retainer in its case when not in use.
Here are a few rapid-fire tips to remember:
- If using a fixed retainer, be sure to brush and floss diligently in the space surrounding the wire, as the little nooks and crannies make it a favorite spot for plaque and debris!
- Your removable retainer should always stay in its case when not in use.
- Go ahead and remove your retainer before eating and drinking. This simplifies clean-up and ensures your retainer stays hygienic and fresh!
- Cleaning your removable retainer is a cinch! Lightly brush and rinse with water. You can clean your retainer at the same time as you brush your teeth to keep things simple.
- Be sure and avoid leaving your retainer in extreme heat, as this can warp the acrylic of a Hawley or the plastic of an Essix retainer. You should be removing your retainer to eat and drink anyway, but that goes double for hot food and drink
- Bring your retainer in with you when you come and see us so Dr. Caballero can ensure that it’s in good order and that your post-active treatment is on track!
Have More Questions? Give us a Call!
Here at Master Orthodontics, we’re proud to be Port Orchard, Bremerton, and Gig Harbor’s one-stop smile shop! That means taking care of you, and that means always answering any questions you may have.
Your retainer can be your best friend when it comes to keeping that amazing smile you worked so hard for, so be sure and follow Dr. Caballero’s advice. Not only that, but be sure and come in and see us for your follow-ups! We love to see you smile!