The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers

Orthodontic retainers serve an important role as a longer-term solution for maintaining your new, beautiful smile by keeping teeth in place and not allowing them to shift back to their original position.

We offer the three most common types of retainers:

  • Clear Retainers
    These removable, clear retainers are custom-fit to your teeth and fit just like a mouthguard. We take an impression in our office and our lab technicians fabricate your retainer in our on-site lab. Clear retainers are good for patients that want a more discreet appliance. They are generally easier to wear than traditional wire retainers but may not last as long if the patient grinds their teeth together.
  • Permanent Retainers
    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 a great job maintaining your new, beautiful smile.
    Bonded retainers cannot be removed by the patient. Bonded retainers require more care to brush and floss your teeth, so special care must be taken to keep them clean and tarter-free. The best part is you will not lose it!
  • Traditional Metal Retainers
    “Hawley” retainers are the most common type of retainer because they are durable, adjustable, and removable. A metal wire is mounted in an acrylic arch to keep it securely in the patient’s mouth. This retainer can be active to slightly move teeth or inactive to hold teeth in their current position. The acrylic comes in many fun colors!

Always wear your retainer!! Retainers are made to hold teeth in their new positions while the gums and bones settle into their new positions. Both children and adults experience changes to their dental structure throughout their lives. Retainers serve to keep teeth aligned as the facial structure grows and changes.

Wear and Care of Retainers

Retainers are an important part of orthodontic treatment at Braceline Orthodontics. Retainers allow your teeth to settle into their new position so that you can enjoy your beautiful smile for life. The bone can take as long as a year to completely reform around the roots of your teeth after they have been moved. We will need to check your retainers periodically to be sure they fit properly and that they are doing the job they were designed to do.

It is important that you follow these instructions for wearing and maintaining your retainers, and that you keep all recommended appointments with our office.

  • Your retainers may affect your speech for a day or two, but this disappears with consistent wear of the retainers
  • When you start the retainer phase of orthodontic treatment your teeth may become a little sore and the tissue on the roof of your mouth may become a little tender. You may experience these symptoms for two or three days. If your retainer continues to cause discomfort or rubs, do not attempt to adjust it yourself. Please call our office to make an appointment for a retainer adjustment.
  • Retainers should be worn at all times or as instructed by Dr. Luering, except when eating, brushing, playing contact sports or swimming where they may be broken or lost. Not wearing your retainers consistently can allow your teeth to shift. If this happens your retainer will not fit properly and will have to be adjusted or even replaced. If your teeth shift significantly it could even require more time in braces to bring them back into proper position.
  • When you remove your retainers please store them in their case and in a safe place. Retainers have been mistakenly thrown away or left on a lunch tray because they were wrapped in a paper towel, napkin or tissue. Dogs and cats have been known to chew and damage retainers. Leaving your retainer near a heat source such as a lamp, curling iron, stovetop, or in a hot car can cause the retainer to warp and be ruined. Keeping your retainers in their case when they are not in your mouth is the best way to keep your retainers safe. Also the weight of a book bag may be heavy enough to crush your retainer case so be careful when you store the retainers in your bag.
  • Your retainers can be cleaned with your regular toothbrush and toothpaste. To remove stains you may soak them in denture cleaner. Use only cool water, hot water may warp the retainers.
  • Retainers are always a part of orthodontic treatment. If your retainer is broken, becomes warped, or is lost, a fee will be charged for replacing your retainers. If you fail to wear the retainers and they no longer fit, you may also be charged to resolve this situation.

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