This is where your retainer comes into play. Retainers are orthodontic appliances that hold the teeth in place in order to prevent them from shifting after orthodontic treatment.
For some patients, the retention phase will be temporary, but for others, retainers may need to be worn for life to maintain beautiful end results. We provide retainers after braces or Invisalign at all of our South Florida locations!
Types Of Retainers
All types of retainers are custom-made for the patient. There are three primary retainer types: fixed retainers (wires fixed to the back surfaces of the teeth), Hawley retainers (acrylic piece holding the retainer in place with a wire that goes over the teeth), and Essix clear retainers (similar to Invisalign aligners). Hawley retainers and Essix retainers are removable retainers, and fixed retainers are permanent retainers.
How To Clean Your Retainer
No matter the type of retainer you have, it’s important to keep it clean! Use mild dish soap and a gentle toothbrush to brush your retainers, and stay clear of toothpaste as cleaning agents, as these can be a bit abrasive. Begin taking care of your retainer the very first time you wear it to maintain its quality!
When it comes to eating and drinking with a retainer, don’t do it! Don’t eat anything or drink any liquids (other than water) with your removable retainers in place. Food and drink can stain your retainers and cause more bacteria build-up than usual. Your eating and drinking habits will be different with fixed retainers vs. removable retainers, of course. Eating hard food or candy can damage your fixed retainer, so be extra careful with these permanent retainers.
With fixed retainers, which are bonded to the lower teeth, be sure to floss in between each tooth daily. It’s easy for bacteria to build up between the fixed retainer and the surface of the teeth, so take extra care of your fixed retainer.
Hawley & Essix Retainers
For Hawley retainers and Essix retainers, you can use a specialized retainer cleaner to soak your retainers frequently. Don’t place your Essix retainer in hot water, or it may shrink or become deformed. For acrylic retainers, use a gentle toothbrush to remove debris from the retainer as soon as it leaves your mouth. Don’t allow debris to harden on your retainer, or it’ll be a challenge to clean.
After your orthodontic treatment, we’ll instruct you to wear your retainer day and night for a period of time. Once your teeth have stabilized, you’ll be able to wear your retainer only at night. If you happen to lose your retainer (and trust us, it happens) the cost of a replacement retainer can range anywhere from $200 to $325 and is typically not covered by insurance.
There are pros and cons to each type of retainer, and your orthodontist will help you determine which type of retainer is best suited to your needs. The main problem with fixed retainers is that they require different approaches to eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. Removable retainers can also be lost or misplaced.