Have you finished your orthodontic treatment? That’s an achievement! You put a lot of determination and time to have a beautiful smile. Now you need to make sure that your efforts will last a lifetime – wear a retainer. Your retainer will keep your teeth straight for the rest of your life as long as you wear it consistently.
Taking care of your retainer is essential for your health. Below you’ll find information about different types of retainers and how to take care of every one of them.
There are three types of retainers:
- Hawley Retainers- They are molded out of acrylic to fir your mouth and have a wire that holds that them in place). This retainer is removable and easy to clean.
- Clear Plastic Retainers- (also called Essix, Vivera or clear aligners. They are slipped over your teeth and almost invisible. They are easy to remove but not as durable as Hawley type.
- Fixed/bonded retainers- They are attached to your lower front teeth, and not removable.
Cleaning your retainer:
- Clean your retainer as soon as you remove it from your mouth
- Brush your retainer with water after each meal
- For a deeper cleaning – mix water with mild dish soap. With a soft toothbrush scrub away plug and other debris.
- If you need to use a cotton swab to get to the deepest grooves and ridges of your clear plastic retainer.
Fixed or Bonded Retainers: These retainers need to be flossed every day because they are attached to the teeth
- Using a 6-inch piece of floss and floss threader, thread floss between your two front lower teeth
- Once you get the floss under your retained wire, move it up and down between your teeth to the gum line.
- Slide the floss to the next area you want to clean. Pull down until it’s between your teeth.
- Repeat the process with each tooth that is attached to the retainer.
Caring for Removable Retainer:
- Avoid heat. Keep your retainer away from dishwashers, boiling water, microwaves, dishwashers, and dryers.
- Wash retainers in lukewarm water.
- Skip the chemicals
- Clean your case
- Watch for your retrained – keep your retainer away from kids, make sure you know where you place it while you are eating – if you put on a napkin, you might accidentally toss it into the trash.
- Replace it as needed. Essix retainers usually last for about 6 months to a few years, as the plastic tends to wear out. Hawley retainers last from 5 to 10 years if properly cared for.
- Use its protective case
- Use protective mouthguards during sports. When you play any sport, remove your retainer and wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
If you have any problems with your retainer – it’s lost, broken, have irremovable stains, too loose or too tight, etc. – contact your orthodontist.
Keeping your smile beautiful is in your hands. Keep up with home hygiene and see your dentist regularly. Visit Dr. Lisi from Pediatric Dentistry in Allen to check for cavities and to clean the straightened teeth – regular check-ups ensure that you always have a beautiful smile.