The Importance of Retainers
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.
An impression is taken of your new smile once your braces are removed. The retainer is then custom made for your smile and adjusted periodically by Dr. Hamer to keep your teeth in the desired position. Hamer & Hamer Orthodontics suggest the following tips to ensure that your retention plan is successful:
- Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Clean the retainer 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 do not take the place of brushing.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its 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 your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
Types of Retainers
Saving Your Smile
At Hamer & Hamer Orthodontics, we offer three types of retainers that are very effective in securing a lasting smile. It is imperative to wear your retainer as instructed by Dr. Hamer to maintain your orthodontic gains.
The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of metal wires and sturdy acrylic designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is custom made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of bright, fun colors and/or patterns.
The Essix retainer is growing in popularity and consists of a transparent removable tray-like retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. Similar to Invisalign clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to grinding. Same cleaning recommendations apply for the Essix retainer as well.
Bonded or Fixed Retainer
Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower teeth. 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. Bonded retainers cannot be removed by the patient. Permanent retainers require more care to brush and floss your teeth. Special care must be taken to keep them clean and tartar-free. The best part is you will not lose it!