What do retainers do?
Braces retainers, or dental retainers, are designed to hold your teeth in their final position. Whether you undergo orthodontic treatment or not, your teeth will shift over time. It’s only natural!
Wearing a retainer after braces or clear aligner therapy ensures that your teeth don’t “relapse” back to their previous, pre-treatment position.
When you first start wearing your retainer, you’ll be instructed to wear it for 24 hours, throughout the day and night.
After about 2 months, you’ll be able to reduce your wear to nights only! We recommend that you wear your retainer every night, for life, to keep your smile in the best possible shape
How much do retainers cost? The cost of your retainer is included in your treatment plan! We’ll provide a retainer for the dental arch(es) being treated, at no additional cost.
If you lose or break your retainer, you will be responsible for a replacement fee. That’s why it’s important to be cautious with your retainer and take excellent care of it.
Mistakes happen, though! If you find yourself with a damaged or misplaced retainer, please call us immediately. We want to get this taken care of as soon as possible to ensure that your teeth don’t relapse or shift out of alignment.
Types of Retainers
There are a number of different types of retainers for teeth. These include removable retainers and fixed retainers (permanent retainers).
How long do retainers last? Removable retainers may last up to 10 years with proper care, while permanent retainers, or bonded retainers, can last for decades – or even a lifetime!
The Hawley retainer is a removable retainer, made of special acrylic material and wire. The acrylic covers part of the palate, behind the teeth. There’s a small metal wire that spans across the front surface of the teeth, with wires that fit between the back teeth to hold the retainer in place. This retainer is designed to fit comfortably in the mouth, holding the dental arch in place.
The acryclic plates come in a variety of fun colors and patterns, so you can add a little pizzazz to your smile.
The Essix retainer is another type of removable retainer, made of a special, high-quality transparent plastic. These retainers are very similar to clear aligners. They’re made to cover the front, back, and chewing surfaces of the teeth to support your new smile. Essix retainers are a favorite among our patients, because they’re practically invisible and esthetically-appealing!
The Bonded retainer is a fixed retainer. This retainer includes a small, braided metal wire, adhered to the back surface of the lower teeth. This retainer serves to hold the lower teeth in the desired alignment, so they don’t shift out of place.
Caring for Your Retainer
We want to help you keep your retainer in its best shape. You’ve invested time and money to achieve your gorgeous smile. Don’t allow relapse to occur through casual neglect!
Here are the “do’s and don’ts” of retainer care:
- Always bring your retainers to your appointment.
- Always use your hands to insert or remove your retainer. Do not bite it into position.
- How to clean retainers: Gently clean your retainer with soap and water every time you brush your teeth. (2-3 times a day)
- Retainer Brite is also recommended to clean your retainers.
- Store your retainers in a clean, dry retainer case.
- Remove your retainers to eat, brush, or play active sports.
- Call the office immediately if you have any problems or you lose your retainer.
- Remember when your retainer is “NOT IN YOUR FACE IT IS IN YOUR CASE!“
- Do not put your retainer in hot boiling water to clean. This will warp the retainer.
- Do not soak your retainer in anything other than Retainer Brite for a maximum of 20 minutes.
- Do not put your retainer in a napkin when you are eating. It will get thrown away. (Trust us. We see this situation often.)
- Do not put your retainer in your pocket. It will get broken or bent.
- Do not leave them lying around. Dogs love to chew on them!
- Do not pop your retainer in and out of position with your tongue. It will break.
- Do not chew gum or hard or sticky foods while wearing your retainer.