When you wear braces, you achieve a beautiful, straight smile, but how do you maintain these results after treatment? The final results of your orthodontic treatment are dependent on your retainer. The purpose of retainers is to maintain the position of straightened teeth. Discover more about retainers and how to care for them at home by reading the information below.
The types of retainers
You may be recommended to wear one of the following types of retainers:
Clear retainers: A removable, clear plastic tray that is worn over the teeth.
Traditional Retainers: A removable acrylic and wire appliance that fits over the front of the teeth.
Bonded Retainer: A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily bonded to the anterior teeth on the lingual (tongue) side.
Other ways retainers help
Retainers provide many benefits in addition to maintaining straight teeth. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, which reduces plaque buildup and the risk of tooth decay. There are certain types of retainers that may be helpful in improving snoring and breathing at night. Additionally, retainers may be used to adjust the placement of your child’s tongue, thereby assisting with speech difficulties and vocabulary development.
Here are some tips to help you remember your retainer.
- Use your cell phone to set daily reminders to remind you to insert your retainer before going to sleep.
- If you have a designated retainer spot, you will not forget where you left your retainer if you misplace it.
- You can always use Post-Its to remind yourself! They are bright and colorful and serve as a pleasant reminder.
- It is okay to ask for helpful reminders through the buddy system. Consider asking a sibling, spouse, or friend to help you remember with periodic check-ins and nudges.
As with teeth, retainers should be brushed daily with toothpaste. Brush the entire area gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure that you are extra careful around the wires so they do not bend out of place.
Maintaining your retainer is an essential part of completing your orthodontic treatment, so take good care of it, and it will take good care of you. The retention phase begins once your braces have been removed. In order to maintain your newly straight smile, it is vital that you follow through with tooth retention.