Types of Retainers
A dental retainer is a custom-made oral appliance often used to maintain the alignment of your teeth after orthodontic treatment. After completing orthodontic treatment, Dr. Walton will most likely recommend a retainer to help your teeth stay in alignment. There are two types of retainers:
A comfortable, thinner alternative to the other types of dental retainers, clear retainers are typically made using clear plastic or polyurethane. They fit perfectly around the teeth and are often used by orthodontists.
These retainers may also be called fixed or permanent retainers as they are permanently attached to the backside of the front teeth. They are made from metal like stainless steel/titanium and cannot be removed. One of the main benefits of a bonded retainer is that they allow patients to be discreet and are perfect for younger patients as they don’t need to remember to replace the retainer after eating or brushing and flossing.
Proper Care and Wear of Retainers
Dr. Walton and his team will provide patients with instructions on how to wear and clean their dental retainers. For a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts, you’ll want to adhere to the best retainer practices for as long as prescribed.
Wearing Your Retainer
It is important that if you are given a retainer – you wear it! Successful orthodontic treatment goes hand-in-hand with good dental maintenance. There are two places your retainer should be:
- In Your Mouth
- In Its Case – if you do not have your case, leave your retainer in your mouth
Modern dental retainers have become much more durable than retainers of the past, but they are still very susceptible to damage from heat, pets, electronics, and even your tongue! Be careful not to leave your retainer in a hot car or on top of an electronic that gets hot (such as a television or near a wireless phone charger). Also, be aware of where you leave your retainer case if you have pets.
Cleaning Your Retainer
To help care for your retainer, and keep your teeth healthy, it is important to keep it clean! Bacteria love moist environments and growth can easily occur on retainers that are not properly cleaned. Here are some good cleaning guidelines:
- Brush your retainers every time you brush your teeth
- Brushing retainers with soap and cool water works the best
- Cleanse with a denture cleanser occasionally
- Never clean your retainer with hot water
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Walton
If you have questions about your retainer or are just getting started on your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet with you. Orthodontic treatment, and maintenance including dental retainers, can be an expensive investment. The best way to ensure success is by following the instructions and protocol given to you by your orthodontist.