The thought of needing retainers may be a cause of anxiety for many orthodontic patients. However, with more information on what these devices are and what they do, this will not be the case.
Once the mystery is taken out of retainers, you can easily see how they help maintain your smile. Below are some of the important aspects you need to know about retainers.
WHAT ARE RETAINERS?
After the process of wearing braces or invisalign, the teeth move into the desired positions. However, they are usually not yet properly settled into the gums and jaw bones. Retainers are the simple devices that aid in the settlement and alignment of the teeth in their new position.
Teeth have a tendency of shifting back to their former malocclusion positions after orthodontic treatment. As such, retainers help to keep them in the intended position. It is important to note that there are two types of retainers; bonded (fixed) and removable retainers.
1. REMOVABLE RETAINERS
These are the more common of the two types. There are two main kinds of removable retainers; clear (Essix) and Hawley retainers. Clear retainers are custom made out of plastic and are more comfortable, esthetic and efficient. Hawley retainers are a little bulkier and bigger than clear ones and have a metal wire coming up to the front of the teeth. They can come in various colors.
2. BONDED (FIXED) RETAINERS
Bonded retainers are metallic and are placed at the back of the upper front teeth or behind the lower front teeth. Some orthodontic patients prefer fixed retainers due to aesthetic factors.
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED TO WEAR A RETAINER AFTER BRACES?
The minimum recommended time for wearing retainers is one year. However, you can opt to wear the retainers only at night after the first 6 months of retention maintenance with removable retainers. Before this time, you should only remove them to eat or brush your teeth.
Fixed retainers which are most often used for the lower teeth can be left in place for prolonged periods. Most orthodontists would recommend that you wear your retainers at night for a lifetime to make sure your teeth will not move.
HOW DO YOU CARE FOR YOUR RETAINER?
Caring for a removable retainer is simple since you can easily remove them. It is recommended that you clean them daily with a tooth-brush and cold water in order to get rid of plaque and food particles. Always ensure that the retainers have been thoroughly rinsed.
Some retainers can benefit from occasional use of retainer or denture cleaning agent that you can find at your local pharmacy. Prepare the cleaning solution by dissolving the tablet in cold water then soak the retainer for 10-20 minutes.
Alternatively, you can soak and brush the retainer in equal parts of cold water and white vinegar. This will dissolve the mineral deposits that may build up on some retainers. Fixed retainers can be a little more challenging. They require excellent oral hygiene including regular flossing and occasional appointments with your dentist.
Although patients are different, your retainer should last you a very long time. However, it is important to know when they may
Posted Thursday, October 06, 2016 | Tag: Braces