You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
Finally, your braces have been removed and your smile is beautiful and straight! However, your orthodontic journey isn't quite completed. To keep your smile looking its best, you'll have to wear a retainer to preserve and stabilize your results. Retainers are needed to control or limit potential changes in tooth position. They are used after braces treatment to hold teeth in their correct alignment while the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle adjust to the new positioning of your teeth. Dr. Cheek-Hill will design and order the best retainers to fit your specific treatment needs.
Types of Retainers
Retainers are custom-made and can be removable or fixed.
- Traditional removable retainers (Hawley) are typically made out of a metal wire and acrylic that is custom made to your mouth. These retainers are made to last long term. (10-15 years)
- Clear retainers (In-House or Vivera) are an aesthetic alternative to wire retainers. This clear retainer is typically used in early treatment cases and can cover partial arches of teeth or fully cover all the teeth in full treatment cases. These retainers need to be replaced more often due to them getting wear on the biting surfaces.
- Fixed retainers consist of wires bonded behind the bottom anterior teeth. In some cases they are also bonded on the upper anterior teeth. You can floss normally with these retainers and we will give you instructions on how to do this when they are in place.
- Occlusal Guards (Nightguards) are used for patient's that have a severe grinding/clenching habit or for patient's that are having TMJ dysfunction.
- Take your retainer out when eating and brushing and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Retainers should be rinsed out with water before you put them back in after eating. They should be cleaned thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and anti-bacterial soap. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
Emergency Care with Retainers
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part. If this is still not comfortable or this makes your retainer not fit properly in the mouth, discontinue wear until you can get scheduled in the office. If the retainer looks to have been bent or distorted in anyway, discontinue wear until you can be seen in the office. Sometimes newly erupting teeth may affect the fit of a retainer, but is easily fixed in the office. Just give us a call and we can usually trim the retainer so that you can continue with wearing your retainer. The key is to call us as soon as you notice a problem so that there is no shifting of your teeth. Please bring all retainers to your emergency/repair visit.
If you have a BONDED retainer that has come loose or come completly out, call the office immediatly for a repair visit. If it's loose, wear your Invisible retainer FULL TIME until your appointment with us. If it's completely out, save the retainer in a baggie and bring it with you to your repair appointment and wear your invisible retainer FULL TIME until your appolintment with us. There may be some glue on your teeth where the retainer was, but your retainer will still fit over this and we will get that removed at your visit.