Retainers 101: Wear & Care
So, you just finished your braces treatment…congratulations! Now that you’ve finally achieved your dream smile, it’s time to maintain those pearly whites. Maintenance comes in two forms, continued hygiene practices (routine brushing, flossing, dental check-ups) and wearing your retainers.
Retainers are crucial for keeping your smile in the same condition as when you finished your braces treatment. After spending years working toward a greater smile, now it’s up to you to keep it in tact.
There are two types of retainers: Fixed and removable. Similar to metal braces, fixed retainers use a cement adhesive to stay on teeth without removal. While brackets are not used for retainers, a thin wire is fixed typically across the back of either the lower or upper front teeth. Removable retainers on the other hand, are to be taken out during meals, as well as for brushing and flossing. These retainers come in different forms. One being a combination of wire, hooks or clasps, and the other more similar in appearance to an Invisalign aligner. For removable retainers, a special cleaning solution should be used, as standard toothpaste can damage them. Ask your doctor about what products to use for cleaning your retainers.
Your orthodontist will try to take your preference into consideration when choosing the best retainer for your unique treatment plan. Each type have their pros and cons. The obvious downside to a removable retainer is the chance that it may become lost. Fixed retainers, which can sometimes present a challenge for proper brushing and flossing, stay in place 24/7. If you have a removable retainer, always be sure to keep it in its case when not in use. Constantly replacing retainers can become expensive, so we advise that you keep it out of tissue (as it can more easily be tossed in the trash by mistake) and out of reach from the family pet…retainers aren’t chew toys!
You’ve done so great with your treatment! Now it’s time to make sure you keep it on the STRAIGHT and narrow path with proper retainer wear and care. If you have questions about retainers, ask the doctors and staff at Perelmuter & Goldberg at your next scheduled visit. If there’s anything better than a greater smile, it’s keeping it healthy and well-maintained for years to come!