Keeping your teeth straight with retainers
Although you may not realize it, the most important stage in the process to a beautiful smile is once your braces have been removed. This is known as the retention stage and its essential if you want to maintain the smile you’ve worked so hard for.
Why wear retainers?
You will be told by Dr Caswell and our team that you must wear your retainer once your braces have been removed or you’ve finished wearing your final set of Invisalign aligners. And here’s why.
Throughout your treatment, we have gently moved your teeth into a straighter position. Your teeth will now be in a much healthier position and will also give you that beautiful smile you were hoping for. But your retainer helps to hold your teeth in position.
If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth shift and if that happens you’ll have to go back to wearing an orthodontic appliance. In other words, all your hard work – and ours – will be for nothing, and we certainly don’t want that!
Types of retainers
At Caswell Orthodontics, we use two different types of retainers:
- Removable retainers
- Fixed retainers
A removable retainer looks like a sports mouthguard or an Invisalign aligner. It is custom-made to the shape of your teeth so is comfortable to wear and will hold your teeth in the position you want them to stay. For starters, you will need to wear your retainer both day and night, but after a few months, or on our advice, you can start to wear it only at night.
Top tips for wearing a removable retainer
- Your retainer will be worn as instructed by Caswell Orthodontics and they will be removed during eating and brushing. Let us know if you have any questions on the details of your retainers.
- Make sure to remove the retainer by hand, not with your tongue. Removing retainers with your tongue can cause damage to the retainer. Pull the upper retainer with your fingers in the molar area when you’re ready to take it out.
- Cleaning your retainer is quite a simple process. Brush your retainer without toothpaste, just water. There are commercial retainer cleansers that you may buy, but they are not necessary.
- Make sure to keep your retainers in their case when not being worn. If you accidentally throw them away, simply clean them with antibacterial soap and rinse very well. Whatever you do, do NOT clean with boiling water to disinfect. This will warp your retainer and make them virtually useless. If you aren’t sure if you have fully disinfected your retainers, call our office for further cleaning instructions.
- Keep your retainers away from your pets, as they are likely to chew on things that smell like you.
- Just as you wouldn’t boil your retainers, make sure not to leave them in a hot car or any hot environment. Extreme heat can and will warp your retainers.
- Please remember to bring your retainers to every appointment, as they may require adjustment.
A fixed retainer is a thin piece of wire, much like the archwires in your braces, which is fitted to the back surface of your teeth, next to your tongue. This wire remains in your mouth.
Top tips for wearing a fixed retainer
- Be careful during brushing.
- Make sure to thoroughly clean the wire and the inside of your lower teeth.
- If for some reason the bond becomes loose on your retainer, make sure to call our office immediately to schedule a repair.
Book your free consultation
At Caswell Orthodontics, your first appointment is free. So book your free consultation and find out how you could benefit from orthodontic treatment.