When your braces come off and you see your fantastic new smile, we know you’ll want to keep it that way forever. Unfortunately, your teeth naturally want to shift back to their old places and they will unless you hop right into the retention phase of treatment. This phase involves wearing retainers, which are appliances that maintain your results and hold your teeth in position.
Fixed Lingual Retainers
Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the back of your bottom canine teeth. Since this type is permanently attached much like your braces were, it’s the ideal way to keep the lower teeth from moving. If your fixed retainer breaks, be sure to call us right away so we can replace it before the teeth shift.
The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types for the top teeth. It’s removable and consists of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic. Since it’s made based on impressions of your teeth, the acrylic fits snugly and comfortably against the roof of your mouth and the wire wraps around your teeth to hold them in perfect position. We can personalize the acrylic with different colors and patterns.
Caring for Retainers
To keep your mouth happy and healthy while wearing a fixed lingual retainer, simply brush the inside of your bottom teeth as well as the wire. Since it’s bonded, it won’t be going anywhere and you don’t have to worry about taking it out. You should be careful about biting incorrectly though as it can damage the bonding and cause it to break.
The removable retainer for your top teeth takes a little extra effort. Always handle it carefully since it’s fragile and costly to replace. Any time you take your retainer out, immediately store it in its case, which we’ll give you. Never put it in a napkin as that’s how they get accidentally thrown away and you end up digging through the trash. To keep your Hawley retainer sparkling clean, brush it with toothpaste and rinse it with lukewarm water every day. Since food particles, bacteria and plaque can accumulate on your retainer, dissolve a denture-cleaning tablet, like Polident or Efferdent, in a glass of room temperature water and soak your appliance in it daily. Not only will this keep your retainer fresh, it will also make it taste better.
You’ll want to wear your retainers at all times except when you’re eating, brushing and flossing, participating in sports that require a mouthguard or swimming. In most cases, you’ll wear it full-time for the first year and then only at night after that. However, every mouth is different, so follow Dr. Yoo’s instructions.