Getting your braces off and finally finishing your orthodontic treatment can be a huge relief. You may be looking forward to showing off your new smile and if you had traditional metal braces, finally getting rid of that hardware. Unfortunately, the need to wear orthodontic hardware doesn’t end once your teeth have achieve optimal positioning. Dr. Hamer will still require you to wear a retainer after your treatment ends.
The purpose of a retainer is to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original positions once braces are removed or the primary phase of orthodontic treatment is complete. Depending on your specific treatment plan, you may be instructed to wear your retainers most hours of the day, or perhaps only when you sleep. Hamer and Hamer Orthodontics recommends retention for all our orthodontic patients, and Dr. Hamer will design a treatment plan for you based on your orthodontic treatment and lifestyle.
Benefits of Clear Plastic Retainers
There are a few different retainer options that your orthodontist may want to discuss with you. Metal retainers are quite common and generally feature a few thin wires and brackets that fit over one tooth in each quadrant of your mouth. These can be easily removed as needed, but are typically quite noticeable when being worn (though certainly not as much as metal braces).
Another popular option for retaining the alignment and appearance of your new smile is a clear plastic retainer. These are molded to fit your teeth and gums as soon as your braces are removed, and fit comfortably over all of your teeth to hold them in place and prevent unwanted shifting. Unlike metal retainers, clear plastic retainers are barely noticeable when you wear them, so they may be an ideal choice for those who have been instructed by their dentists to wear their retainers both day and night.
Caring for Retainers
If you end up with clear plastic retainers, taking proper care of them is a must. Otherwise, you could end up with unsightly discoloration and stains that can make your retainers an eyesore or even unhygienic to wear.
One of the best ways to keep your clear retainers clean and disinfected is to soak them daily in a cleaner such as Retainer Brite, denture cleaner, or any other cleaner recommended by your dentist. Traditional wired retainers can be cleaned by soaking in denture cleaner and then rinsing and brushing them. Proper cleaning will help to keep them odor, stain, and bacteria-free, which is important to keep your smile healthy while wearing retainers.
Furthermore, when you remove your retainer to eat or drink, it’s good to get into the habit of rinsing it under warm water and brushing your teeth before you put the retainer back in your mouth. If you’re unable to brush your teeth before re-inserting your retainer, try to rinse your mouth out with water to maintain retainer hygiene.
The Importance of Daily Wear
Dr. Hamer may instruct you to wear your retainer a certain number of hours per day, or he may simply tell you to only wear it at night. This will vary depending on your specific treatment plan. It’s important to follow the instructions provided with your retainer, Otherwise, you could end up with shifting teeth that can make wearing your retainers uncomfortable or even unsafe to your oral health. All it takes is a day or two of forgetting to wear your retainers before your teeth can begin to shift considerably, especially if you just got your braces off not too long ago.
Wearing your retainer as instructed and caring for it are important to keeping your smile looking its best. Hamer and Hamer Orthodontics stresses the importance of the retention phase after orthodontic treatment. We want you to maintain the smile you worked so hard to achieve. If you’ve got questions about maintaining your retainer, don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment! Call us to schedule, we would be happy to help!