You've worked hard for your beautiful smile; keep it that way!
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 orthodontic treatment to maintain teeth in their correct alignment especially as the surrounding gums, bone, and muscle are adjusting to the new position of your teeth.
Types of Retainers
- Traditional removable retainers, called Hawley retainers, are made from metal and acrylic and can be used to adjust minor spacing or
crowding changes. They are more durable and can last 5-10 years with proper care.
- Aligner-style retainers, or Essix retainers, are made of a BPA-free plastic and are a more esthetic alternative to Hawley retainers. However, they cannot be used to adjust the teeth in case of shifting and have a shorter lifespan; plan to replace Essix retainers every 1-2 years.
Wear your retainers 24 hours a day, and remove them only to eat, brush your teeth, and play sports. Dr. DeCamps will continue to see you as your bite settles, and she will develop a specific retainer wear schedule for you.
Care and Cleaning
- Keep your retainers in the case when you are not wearing them. Do not wrap them in a napkin or put them in your pocket without a case. We suggest that you write your name and phone number on the retainer case.
- After you brush and floss your teeth, clean the retainers with hand soap and water before placing them back in your mouth. If stains are hard to remove, denture cleaning tablets can be used once a month to remove buildup.
- Avoid exposing your retainers to excessive heat (i.e., microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, dashboard of the car) because they can warp.
- Keep your retainers away from pets and small children. Dogs especially love chewing on retainers!