At Egger Orthodontics, our orthodontists are fully trained and prepared to bring you through the process of using braces to properly align your teeth. But once you have worn those braces for long enough and it is time to take them off, what comes next? The next phase of orthodontic treatment becomes retention, where we make sure that your teeth maintain their corrected positions over time. This often involves the use of retainers to make certain that the tooth alignment changes we helped you make become permanent.
The Multiple Types Of Retainers
There are two main types of retainers: fixed and removable. A fixed retainer typically entails a thin wire worn along the back of your upper or lower front teeth, which is then sealed in place with to. Because this wire bonds across multiple teeth, flossing can be easier if you use a floss threader or similar cleaning device to get into the spaces between each tooth. Though a fixed retainer can require more work to keep clean, it can offer the best results because the wire will keep your freshly straightened teeth in the correct position every hour of every day.
A removable retainer can offer more flexibility, though you have to make sure you continually use it. This entails a wire going across your teeth like its fixed cousin but attached to a combination of clasps and acrylic material that can be inserted in your mouth and around your back teeth to keep the retainer in place. While the ability to remove the retainer at will makes it an attractive choice, you should do your best not to lose or damage them whenever they are outside your mouth. If you do, replacing the retainer can become an expensive proposition.
Starting With A Temporary Retainer
If you have chosen to go forward with a removable retainer, then part of the retention process involves our orthodontists taking an impression of your teeth and gums so that we can send for a removable and custom-fit retainer for you. However, until it arrives, a temporary retainer will serve as your practice run and make sure you do not lose any tooth alignment progress in the meantime. This is where you can establish the habit of wearing your retainer at all times so that, when the custom retainer arrives, you are ready for it. Once the custom retainer does show up, you should stop wearing your temporary retainer and switch to using the custom version.
Maintaining Your Retainer
Whether your retainer is temporary, fixed, or removable, the maintenance process is very similar. Continuing a thorough oral care regimen can keep tartar, plaque, and bacteria from collecting on your retainer. You should brush your teeth at least two times a day and complement this with flossing to keep the areas between your teeth and along the gumline as healthy as possible. If your retainer is removable, try to avoid rinsing it with hot water because heat can distort its shape. Be careful not to brush your retainer too aggressively because this can risk scratching it.
Do not forget to schedule regular cleanings with us and to care for your retainer daily to get the maximum benefit from it. The retention phase is critical for keeping your teeth in their new and proper position, and we want to do everything we can to make sure you do not have to return to braces or aligners again. If you are interested and want to learn more about the retention process, call us today at 425.270.1616.
All of the staff members are consistently friendly and warm! They are wonderful with children (even the little sister that wanted to closely watch)! Dr. Egger and her staff are very gentle, knowledgeable and professional and spend quality time educating patients and family. We feel like we are getting excellent care!
- Kristina M.