Fixed retainers consist of a metal wire that is cemented to the back of your front teeth. The wire typically extends from canine to canine.
You cannot remove fixed retainers at home. Only your orthodontist can remove the device in-office. Also, fixed retainers do not affect eating or speaking abilities. After a few days of wear, you should not be able to feel it.
We usually give patients backup removable retainers in case the fixed retainers fail or if you have a high risk for relapse (when the teeth move back into their original position before treatment).
A Hawley retainer is one form of orthodontic retainer, which uses a combination of a hard plastic or acrylic plate connected by a thin metal wire. The retainer is molded to your mouth to fit comfortably on the roof of your mouth, with the wire settled against the front of your top teeth.
An Essix retainer is a transparent plastic retainer that fits perfectly over and around your teeth so they stay straight after braces. It is a removable retainer, and is made completely out of clear plastic, so it is less visible when you wear it than the traditional wire retainers are. These retainers are made from molds of your teeth, so they are completely personalized, and they fit over the entire arch of your teeth.
You put a lot of effort into reaching this important milestone. To make sure your beautiful new smile lasts a lifetime, you are ready to embark on the next stage of your treatment – and maybe most importantly: wearing retainers.
Retainers are amazing little devices that hold your teeth in their new positions while bone tissue rebuilds around them, stabilizing them. It’s a process that takes time. Even after the new bone has solidified, you may need to wear retainers for a long time.
Teeth can move because the bone that holds them in place continually breaks down and rebuilds. During “active” orthodontic treatment, when teeth are being moved, the orthodontist uses braces or aligners to deliver gentle, controlled forces to guide teeth into their proper places. But forces are continually at work in the mouth that can move teeth when you bite, chew, swallow and speak. To counteract these naturally-generated forces, continued retainer wear may be advised. Nothing can prevent 100% of tooth movement, but when retainers are worn as prescribed, they are the best tool available to minimize movement.
The most important thing to know about retainers is that they can only do their jobs when they are in your mouth.
A Few Words of Advice
If you don’t wear your retainers as prescribed, not only may your teeth move, they may move so much that your retainers won’t fit. If that should happen, contact us right away.
When your removable retainer is not in your mouth, put it in its case.
Always carry a retainer case with you.
Avoid dropping your retainer into a pocket or purse – the retainer can be damaged.
Never wrap your retainer in a napkin – it’s too easy to throw away.
Keep your retainer out of the reach of pets – dogs, in particular, seem to be attracted to retainers, and can quickly chew them into a state of uselessness.
Avoid heat – your retainer can become deformed if it’s left on a heater, a hot stove, or in a hot car.
Keep your retainer clean.
we give you instructions for cleaning removable retainers, which could include brushing with toothpaste before you put them in and after they are removed, and/or the use of an effervescent cleanser
Keeping your smile healthy and beautiful is in your hands. Keep up with home hygiene and see your dentist regularly. To preserve the great results you got from wearing braces or aligners, wear your retainers as instructed by us. Contact us any time you have a question or concern about your retainers or the alignment of your teeth.
Permanent retainers can be brushed and flossed; interproximal brushes may also be helpful.
If you have removable retainers, ask us if they should be removed before you eat.
If you have an Essix retainer, you may be advised to avoid drinking liquids (except water) when the retainers are in place. Liquids can seep into the retainer, and the liquid is held against the teeth until the retainer is removed. Liquids with color (coffee, tea, red wine, etc.) can stain teeth. Liquids with sugar and/or acids, such as regular and diet soft drinks, can cause tooth decay.
If you have a problem with your retainer – it’s lost, broken, warped, too loose, too tight, etc. – contact us
Unless it’s lost, bring your retainer with you when you visit your orthodontist.
Now It’s Up to You