Once your orthodontic treatment has been completed, the proper usage of retainers is very important in maintaining the same smile and bite that your braces formed in the prior years. Retainers are made by our orthodontist Dr.Rahimi using an impression of your teeth made by our iTero scanner or by a clay mold. In most orthodontic cases you must wear your braces for several years, if not indefinitely.
There are types of retainers: fixed and removable. The type of retainer you get will depend on your individual needs and the compliance both our orthodontist and you can expect from the retainer.
The fixed type of retainer is a thin wire that is bonded in place on the back of your top or bottom teeth. Due to the fact that this wire stretches across several teeth, a floss threader is needed to clean in between the space of your teeth much like whenever you had braces. Despite the fact that this type of retainer take a tad bit more work to keep clean, this fixed retainer ensures your teeth stay straight 24/7.
The removable retainer a combination of both a wire that goes across the front or bottom teeth that is held in place by the hooks and claps that are inserted in and around the back of the teeth. Since this retainer is removable, it is easier for you to clean your teeth. However, our orthodontist will want you to wear this retainer all day and night for the initial three months. If at the end of this three months Dr.Rahimi detects no movement, he may instruct you to wear the retainers at night or during the day for a few hours.
The disadvantage with removable retainers is that they can be lost or broken if they are not well taken care of. Even leaving them in extreme heat may cause them to melt. Many orthodontists and general dentists charge hundreds of dollars to replace retainers. This being said, a good practice to have is to keep your retainers in a plastic container.
Throughout the use of both type of retainers, routine visits to a dentist is a must in order to check for cavities and to clean your new straightened teeth. Your dentist will then examine your retainer to make sure that the retainer is properly secured in place and that your teeth are free of tartar or plaque.
Never use regular toothpaste for removable retainers as the toothpaste can wear down the acrylic surface of the retainer and make bacteria get stuck to them. Common denture cleaning tablets with antibacterial ingredients, products such as the Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse, or water and vinegar, can help keep you retainer clean.