What Are Retainers & Why Are They Important?
You know that plastic thing you threw in your drawer after finishing orthodontic treatment? Yeah…that was your retainer.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the winning lottery ticket, but that retainer served an important purpose.
Retainers help to…well, retain your teeth in the position that they were in right after you had your braces removed.
Without a retainer, it’s very likely that your teeth will begin to shift. Teeth always remember where they started and oftentimes try to go back to that beginning position before braces.
A retainer is the only way to help those teeth remember that their new position in the mouth after braces is a much better place to be.
All of our patients are given retainers after orthodontic treatment. We ask that all patients wear retainers.
Retainers are to be worn for life or as long as you want your teeth to remain straight. When you are done with straight teeth, feel free to toss your retainer into the drawer.
Retainers At Knapp Orthodontics
At Knapp Orthodontics, we provide all patients with an upper and lower removable clear retainer (Essix). These retainers are included in the treatment price.
We ask that patients wear both of these retainers all the time they are at home (awake or asleep) for the first three months. We ask that they do not take it out of the house just to ensure they do not misplace it. After three months, we ask patients to wear the top and bottom retainer at night.
After we remove your braces, we’ll also glue a bonded retainer to the back of the lower front teeth. This retainer is included in the treatment price.
This retainer is not taken out of the mouth daily. Just to be clear, this retainer is likely not permanent. It would be great if it lasted a lifetime, but hardly anything lasts that long. Look for more instructions down below on how to care for both of these retainers.
FAQs About Your Retainer
In order to help your retainers last as long as possible, please be sure to take care of your retainers and maintain them. Here’s a list of things to be mindful of.
- Take out your retainers to eat, drink and brush your teeth. Don’t drink sugary or acidic drinks with your retainers in, as you could cause major damage to your teeth.
- Take your retainers out for sports.
- Always store your retainers in your case. Remember, if it’s not in your face, it’s in your case.
- Don’t leave your retainers where pets can reach them.
- Don’t leave your retainer in the sun or near anything that can get hot, like a stove or dishwasher.
- Remove your retainers from both sides of the back of the mouth instead of pulling them down in the front. Removing from both sides will help to lessen the stress that the retainers take in the front.
How Do I Clean My Retainers?
Your clear retainers can begin to build up gunk if you don’t clean them regularly. This will cause them to discolor and start to smell. In order to keep them fresh, please consider the following method:
Purchase a retainer or denture cleaning tablet from any convenience or drug store. Products like Retainer Brite work great.
Follow the directions on the box to clean your retainers as regularly as needed. On top of using this tablet, you can also brush your retainer out with a toothbrush and some water (not hot).
Since this retainer is glued in your mouth, the only maintenance that you need to do is brush and floss like normal. Flossing may be easier with a floss threader, which can be purchased from any convenience store.
See your dentist on a regular basis so they can clean your teeth around the bonded retainer frequently, as calculus may build up.
Be mindful of hard and sticky food that can dislodge this bonded retainer. As we discussed, we want it to last as long as possible, and eventually, the glue may pop off.