Your New Smile Needs Retainers; Here's How to Protect Them

Your braces or clear aligners are coming off, which means you're done for good with orthodontic treatment, right? Well, not quite. Your teeth are now straight and beautiful, which was our original goal. Now we have a new goal — keeping them that way using retainers! 

Retainers are necessary to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment and preserve your beautiful smile long-term. Just wear them as prescribed.

Shoe Orthodontics offers removable retainers to keep your beautiful new smile straight for a lifetime. They are durable and will last for years if cared for properly. How do you do that? We’ll give you a few tips!

Why Do You Need a Retainer?

A retainer is an appliance that holds your teeth in place after braces. Because your teeth have moved over the last several months, you must tell them to stop. They serve as a giant stop sign for your teeth. 

Braces move your teeth by changing the jawbone and allowing the teeth to shift. This becomes a pattern throughout your treatment. The process “softens” the jawbone and makes it more malleable, making the teeth move easier. 

After treatment, your teeth will continue moving while the jaw remains malleable. They hold your teeth in place while the jawbone hardens again. 

Think of it this way: When planting a flower, if you don't fill the hole with dirt, the flower will move. But as you fill the dirt in, the flower can still move. Retainers are like your hand holding the flower steady while your jaw settles around it.

What Kinds of Retainers Are There?

There are three main types of retainers available to choose from. Our practice primarily uses removable ones, allowing you to take them out when necessary. 

Hawley Retainer

These are the common retainers you may be familiar with. They use a custom-made acrylic base that fits your mouth's roof and wires to hold your teeth in place.

Hawley retainers are easy to remove. You can take them out and store them while eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing. This allows you the flexibility to maintain good oral hygiene without issue. 

Regularly cleaning and storing your orthodontic appliances will help maintain their cleanliness and functionality. This, in turn, will preserve the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment.

Essix Retainer

Essix retainers, also known as clear retainers, are made of durable, clear material, they effectively hold your teeth in their proper position while remaining nearly invisible.

Many patients love their discreet appearance, making them a popular choice. Properly storing them when unused is essential to avoid potential loss or damage.

To ensure their effectiveness, it is essential to wear them daily for the specific amount of time recommended by your orthodontist. Regular and consistent usage is key to achieving the best results and maintaining your beautiful smile long-term.

Essix retainers give you a confident, well-aligned smile and help proactively preserve your orthodontic treatment results. Let these comfortable and nearly invisible retainers be your partners in maintaining a lasting and healthy smile!

Lingual Retainer

These, also known as permanent retainers, get bonded to the back of your teeth, typically the bottom front teeth. These remain fixed, ensuring you won't misplace or damage them when not in your mouth.

However, they can pose challenges to brushing and flossing, potentially increasing the risk of tooth decay. With the right care, they can effectively preserve the results of your orthodontic treatment for the long term.

How Do I Care for My Retainers?

It’s incredibly important to take good care of your appliances because they are made to last you for years. That means storing them correctly, but it also means cleaning them correctly. 

Here are some important tips on how to care properly for your retainers. 

  • Clean your retainers daily by rinsing them whenever they come out before putting them back in your mouth. For dislodging food particles, use a soft-bristled brush. Avoid using toothpaste, as it may cause microabrasions. 
  • Clean them with retainer cleansing tablets, clear liquid soap, or baking soda dissolved in water. (Remember to check the box for instructions if using cleaner tablets meant for weekly use!)
  • Place them in a storage container when you’re not using them. Otherwise, they may get lost or damaged.
  • Never wrap them in a napkin that can be thrown away by accident. It’s very easy to do this at a restaurant or home.  
  • Keep small children and pets away from your retainers. They can easily tear them up. 
  • Do not expose your retainers to heat. Hot water, cars, washing machines, or dishwashers can damage them. They can warp or even melt. 

We have more tips available, including instructions on how we’d like you to wear your appliance. 

What If My Retainer Doesn’t Fit Right? 

If your retainers don't fit correctly, two primary reasons could be responsible. It's either due to warping or damage, or you might not have worn them as prescribed.

When you visit our Hanover, PA, or Reisterstown, MD, office, we ensure that your retainers fit perfectly before you leave. Once properly fitted, they should continue to fit the same way each time you wear them. If they don't, it's a problem that needs immediate resolution.

Failure to wear them for the prescribed time can cause your teeth to move out of place. This will result in ill-fitting or non-fitting retainers. At the least, you'll require a new set. In severe cases of teeth shifting, you may need another orthodontic treatment to restore your perfect smile.

We can't emphasize enough the importance of following your orthodontist's instructions. Regularly wearing your retainers, as advised, is essential for maintaining your smile. By taking good care and following our team's advice, you'll keep your pearly whites right where they belong!

If you have any problems or notice any changes, we'll take a look and make any necessary adjustments. We aim to help you achieve a lasting, healthy, and confident smile.

What If My Retainer Breaks?

Breaking them is rare because they're made to be durable and last a long time. However, it is possible. How can you break your retainer?

  • Not storing them properly in a container when not in your mouth.
  • Eating with them still in your mouth
  • Storing them in the wrong kind of container could damage them or allow them to fall out.

If they break, contact us right away. We'll bring you in to repair the damage or fit you for a new one, ensuring your smile stays on track. Your satisfaction and oral health are our top priorities!

Getting Retainers in Hanover, PA

Your smile is your best first impression, and a new, straight smile makes an incredible impact! Retainers play a crucial role in helping you maintain that beautiful smile for a long time.

We'll schedule a complete examination and consultation if you're a new patient in the Hanover, PA, or Reisterstown, MD, area. Whether you're just starting with orthodontic treatment or need assistance with your retainers, we are here to help!

Our team is passionate about creating and preserving stunning smiles. We genuinely care about helping you achieve the smile you desire. We strive to provide excellent orthodontic care, ensuring a positive experience from your first to last visit. You'll be in good hands when you choose us as we work together to achieve your smile goals.

We look forward to welcoming you to our practice and joining your smile journey. Let's create a lasting impression with a radiant smile that lights up every room you enter!

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