How Do I take Care of My Retainer?

Whether your orthodontic retainer is of the fixed variety or removable, it is in your mouth and needs to be treated just like your teeth and gums. What is a retainer and why must it be worn? The retainer is the final step in enduring the process of wearing orthodontic braces, in which your teeth have been moved to a new position in the arch. Once the braces are removed a retainer is imperative to maintain their new position or they will literally shift back to were they started from, erasing all your hard work.

What are the Reasons behind Braces?

The alignment of your teeth most often is a simple genetic imperfection. Sometimes it is the result of incorrect or late eruption of the permanent teeth. The teeth might be crooked because they are crowded in an arch that just doesn’t have enough room. You might have an overbite or underbite that would be advantageous to correct, or a jaw abnormality results in improper alignment. Crooked teeth are a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to identifying a healthy smile. If you are self-conscious about the perception of your smile it can affect your self-confidence and your self-esteem. This will trickle down to affecting your personal interactions as well as social and professional encounters. All resulting from crooked teeth that can easily be corrected and straightened.

The Different Types of Orthodontic Braces

The conventional or traditional set of braces features metal brackets on the teeth and a metal arch wire. The pressure delivered from the arch wire pushes and pulls the teeth. The second option is more difficult to see. The brackets and arch wire are ceramic, made in either clear material or a tooth colored material. The third option moves the brackets and wires to the inside of the teeth. The final option is digitally designed computerized clear trays that you change every two weeks. All of the options still require at least 18 months to two years to move teeth.

The Different Types of Retainers

The retainers are basically one of two varieties; a fixed version where there are some brackets on several teeth with an arch wire prohibiting the teeth to move back to their original position. The second type is removable, often a piece of ceramic plastic with wires attached that fix to the teeth.

The Proper Care for All Retainers

A fixed retainer has the best outcome because it holds the teeth in place 24/7. It also takes a little more work on your behalf when it comes to proper oral hygiene. Either you use a floss threader or a similar cleaning device to access the spaces between the teeth to remove food particles and stymie the build up of plaque. If your retainer is removable you should soak it with common denture cleaning tablets or a vinegar and water mixture to clean the bacteria from the retainer. Regular toothpaste on a retainer can dull the acrylic surface and cause bacteria to stick to it. You have made an investment in correcting your teeth and your smile, take this last step and wear your retainer and keep it clean.

More on Retainers : Removable vs Fixed Retainers