Now that you have undergone orthodontic treatment and your teeth are finally aligned, you will want to make sure they don’t slip back into their previous positions. To prevent this from happening, retainers are used to anchor your teeth into place. Retainers are fashioned to fit your mouth with the correct alignment by taking a mold, or impression of your aligned teeth and gums. The retainer is created in a lab using wire and/or acrylic material (depending on the type of retainer) from your impression.
These are simply a thin wire that is cemented onto the back of the upper or lower front teeth. This permanent bonding replaces the brackets if you wore braces. This permanently placed wire effectively keeps your aligned teeth in place around the clock so you don’t have to worry about keeping your teeth straight.
Unlike the fixed wire retainer, these are removable devices that are made of a combination of wire and an acrylic base with hooks or clasps that hold onto your upper teeth to keep them in position. They hold onto the front of the lower or upper teeth in the front of the mouth around the back teeth. Initially, you may wear this retainer every day for at least three months. Once you get the go-ahead, you will eventually need to wear it at night. Removable retainers do have some disadvantages; they can be accidentally tossed in the trash if you are taking them out to eat and you are away from home. If you drink or eat hot items it can warp the acrylic base. This means when you are not wearing your removable retainer you should keep it in an appropriate case and in a safe place.
Now let’s take a look at how you should care for your retainer to make sure it continues to serve you as it should. When it comes to cleaning your retainer, you’ll want to disinfect it daily to remove oral debris (plaque and food particles).
Cleaning a fixed retainer requires pulling floss that can be inserted into the interproximal spaces between the teeth and rub it up and down and sideways to remove oral debris – similar to how you flossed while in braces.
Cleaning your removable retainer can be done in various ways:
– Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mildly abrasive toothpaste
– Soak in denture cleaning tablets containing antibacterial ingredients
– Rinse with a disinfecting oral rinse
– Soak in vinegar and water to remove bacteria
In addition to taking good care of your teeth and gums by brushing daily and also cleaning your retainer every day, you will want to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. You want to make sure that cavities are taken care of and your newly aligned teeth cleaned (removing hardened plaque and tartar) and polished. We will also check out your teeth and gums as well as your retainer to make sure everything is working correctly and is in healthy condition.
As you can see, keeping your teeth in their aligned position after your braces come off is just as important as when you straightened them with orthodontics. If you would like to know more, please reach out to our team and we will help you with your orthodontic needs!