Taking good care of your retainer and wearing it as instructed will keep your teeth straight and help you maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment. The retainer is one of the most important parts of the treatment process – wearing and caring for it properly can mean the difference between great outcomes or further movement of the teeth, which may require you to go back to braces!
At Cuozzo Orthodontic Specialists, our experienced orthodontist wants to make sure you have all the tools necessary to ensure your retainer is doing its job. Here are some interesting facts along with tips and tricks that can help keep your teeth in their new and improved position:
Why are retainers necessary?
A retainer is typically the final, completing stage of your orthodontic treatment. While the teeth have been moved to a more desirable position in the main stage of treatment, a retainer will protect the teeth from relapsing as the bone and new teeth position gradually become more stable. Good results are absolutely dependent on this part of the process, so it’s crucial that you wear your retainer as instructed. There may be some soreness during the first few nights of wearing your retainer; however, this is a normal part of the process and should fade as you get more used to it.
How should I care for my retainer?
Retainers should be brushed every morning and placed in the provided case. Scrubbing the sides of the retainer with an ordinary toothbrush and toothpaste is typically enough to get them clean; however, be careful not to hold the retainer by the back edges as this may cause cracks or breaks. Inattention to daily cleaning routines can ultimately make the retainer brittle and shorten its life. It’s never good to soak your retainer in household cleaning solutions, and you should never place it in boiling water.
A word about removing your retainers: start at the back of the retainer and carefully pull using both pointer fingers for the top and both thumbs for the bottom. Gently work your way to the front of the retainer until it’s all the way out. Pulling the retainer from the front or from one of the back edges can cause weakness or breakage.
Retainers should be removed while swimming, and they should always be in their case when they are not in use. And don’t forget to bring your retainer when you come back for retention visits!
The retainers of choice here at Cuozzo Orthodontic Specialists are clear retainers that cover all three surfaces of the teeth. They are made from a mold taken the day your braces are removed. You will be asked to come back one week later to have the retainers fitted. In some cases, we use a type of appliance known as a Hawley retainer if a space needs to be closed or if the patient has a tongue thrust. Our orthodontist will determine the best retainer for your needs and supply you with more detailed instructions and guidance for your retainer once it is created.
If you have any questions or problems with your retainers, we are here to help! Just contact our office and we’ll be happy to address any concerns you may have.