August 16th, 2017
After you're finished with your braces or Invisalign your smile will look great! One of the most important parts in orthodontics is called the retention phase. This is where the patient gets their custom fit retainer, to make sure their teeth remain aligned after the braces or Invisalign are completed. Here are 5 important things to know about retainers.
1. There are different types of Retainers
All smiles are different, and some retainers are better suited for certain teeth. There are three main kinds of retainers.
Clear Retainers: These retainers are a clear plastic that fit over your teeth. They are sometimes referred to as "Invisalign" style retainers as they look similar to Invisalign trays. These retainers also help grinding or clenching while you sleep, and may be used as a night guard.
Hawley Retainers: These retainers are made up of acrylic that fits over your palate, and wire that fit over your teeth. These retainers are best at allowing your teeth to fit together naturally. They are sometimes referred to as "traditional" style retainers as they were very popular before Clear Retainers.
Bonded "Fixed" Retainers: These retainers will be glued to the back of your anterior teeth. These retainers stay in your mouth, so you do not have to worry about taking them in and out. They are sometimes referred to as "permanent" retainers as they stay on the back of your teeth and are not removable.
2. Patients need to wear their retainers for different lengths of time
Everyone's teeth move differently, so some patients will need to wear their retainer longer or more often than others. Dr. McKinney will make recommendations based on the movement of your teeth for how long and how often you will need to wear your retainer. Typically, retainers are worn only at night to sleep in.
3. Cleaning your retainer is important!
If retainers are not cleaned correctly, they become vulnerable to bacteria and germs. We recommend brushing your retainer with your toothbrush, as well as using denture cleaner to clean your retainers. It is important that you don't put your retainer in the dishwasher, as this can sometimes change the shape of the retainer.
4. Retainers may need to be adjusted
As patients grow and teeth move slightly sometimes retainers need to be adjusted. That is why at McKinney Orthodontics, we follow your case for one year minimum after the braces or Invisalign are removed. We also welcome back previous or new patients for retainer check and retainer adjustments.
5. Lost, misplaced, or not fitting? Let us know ASAP!
If your retainer is lost, misplaced, or not fitting correctly, let us know as soon as possible! The sooner we can make you a new retainer or repair your retainer, the less likely your teeth are to move. Losing a retainer is time sensitive, and teeth will want to move back to their original position. At McKinney Orthodontics, we offer a free first time consultation, even for something as simple as a lost or non fitting retainer.
Want Dr. McKinney to take a look at your retainer? Contact our office for a complimentary consulation and we will be happy to evaluate you for your retention needs. Retainers are an important part of the orthodontic process, and should be monitored by an orthodontist. Do you have other questions about retainer? Check out our full list of FAQ here.