Most people are concerned about their teeth straightening journey during the process, but what’s next? Most people receive two little magic retainers to keep their teeth set in the perfect position for the rest of their lives. So what do retainers entail? Here is a quick guide! 

Will I need to wear retainers? 

Most likely, yes. After a long period of orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth it is important to keep your jaw aligned and your teeth in place. Retainers stabilize your bones to ensure everything stays where it should.

Guide to Wearing Retainers

Are there different types of retainers?

Yes there are a few different styles of retainers to choose from. After your orthodontic treatment you can have removable retainers, permanent retainers, or a combination of both. Your orthodontist will go over these different options and together you can decide what works best you!

Removable Retainers 

The traditional Hawley retainers are made of metal and a pink plastic to match the inside of your mouth. These can also be personalized with fun colors and designs! 

Another option is the clear Essix retainers. These retainers are molded to fit over your teeth and are made out of a clear plastic material. They look like invisible aligners when in the mouth. 

Permanent Retainers 

Permanent retainers can only be put in and taken out by your orthodontist. These retainers are custom-fitted to your mouth and are installed on the inside of your teeth so you can not see them. 

When do I need to wear my retainers? 

You just got through months of wearing braces or Invisalign so when and how long are you going to have to wear these retainers for? Most orthodontists will want you to wear your retainers for at least 12 months after treatment is over. Here is a sample plan of the best practice. Of course, this can vary on a case by case basis, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about what will work best for you. 

Stage One 

For the very first stage of wearing your retainer we recommend leaving them in day and night for the first 4-6 months. This allows time for your teeth to stabilize. Although this can seem tedious, you will thank yourself later for keeping your teeth straight and giving yourself time to heal! 

Stage Two

During this stage we recommend that you switch to wearing your retainers only at night. This is the time where people tend to forget or stray away from wearing them at all. It is very important you are still wearing your retainers on a nightly basis. Your doctor will be able to establish a timeline for how long you need to stay in this stage. 

Stage Three

After a while you will be able to wear your retainer for just a few nights each week. It is important that you do not allow your teeth to move too much where your retainer will not fit back in your mouth. It is also important that if your retainer gets damaged or lost that you contact your orthodontist to get a replacement. 

Retainer Pro Tips 

  • Keep your retainer clean! Warm water rinses, soaks in denture cleaner, or using baking soda and castile soap are all great ways to keep your retainers squeaky clean. 
  • Brush your teeth before you put your retainers in! This prevents any food your plaque you have on your teeth from sitting in your retainer and causing tooth decay. 
  • Keep your retainer in the case! This prevents your retainers from getting dirty, but more importantly it prevents them from getting lost. Wrapping them in a napkin or paper towel often ends with them getting thrown in the trash. 
  • Keep your retainers away from pets! Animals, especially dogs have an affinity for your retainer. They love to chew them, so put them somewhere you furbaby can’t reach! 
  • Avoid Heat! Leaving your retainers outside on a sunny day or throwing them in the dishwasher can lead to discoloration and can distort their shape as well. 

Now that you are a retainer expert you will be ready to discuss your retainer plans and any additional questions with your orthodontist. Contact Ahava Orthodontics to schedule a consultation or ask us about your retainer options!