To maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment and keep your smile looking its best, wearing a retainer is essential. Retainers help control and prevent potential changes in tooth position, ensuring your teeth remain aligned as surrounding tissues adapt to their new arrangement.

Types of Retainers

  • Hawley Retainers: These traditional removable retainers are constructed from metal and acrylic, offering durability and the ability to address minor spacing or crowding issues. With proper care, they can last 5-10 years.
  • Essix Retainers: Made from BPA-free plastic, Essix retainers are a more aesthetically pleasing option. While they cannot adjust tooth position like Hawley retainers, they provide a discreet alternative. Expect to replace Essix retainers every 1-2 years.

Wearing Your Retainers

Follow Dr. DeCamps’ guidance on wearing your retainers, typically around the clock, except when eating, brushing your teeth, or engaging in sports. As your bite stabilizes, she will establish a personalized retainer wear schedule for you.

Care and Maintenance

  • Store your retainers in their case when not in use; avoid wrapping them in napkins or carrying them loose.
  • Clean your retainers with hand soap and water after brushing and flossing your teeth. For stubborn stains, use denture cleaning tablets monthly to remove buildup.
  • Prevent warping by avoiding exposure to excessive heat, such as microwaves, dishwashers, or car dashboards.
  • Keep retainers out of reach of pets and small children, as they may be mistaken for chew toys.

Remember to bring your retainers to all retainer check appointments to ensure they continue to fit properly and effectively maintain your smile alignment.