Retainers are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment and should never be viewed as an afterthought. Residents in and around Richmond, Texas, can turn to Nicole Thompson, DMD, of Lovely Smiles Orthodontics for top-quality orthodontic care, including customized retainers. Schedule a visit today using the convenient online booking page, or call to check appointment availability.
Retainers are removable devices worn after your braces come off or you complete your active InvisalignⓇ treatment. While many people think of retainers as an optional step that comes after your treatment is complete, retainers are actually a critical part of orthodontic care.
Your retainers work to prevent your teeth from shifting out of alignment. It makes sense when you think about how orthodontic treatments move your teeth into enhanced alignment. Those changes occur due to the steady pressure your treatment places on the bone tissue that holds your teeth in place.
Your bone remodels itself to accommodate the shifting teeth. Once you are finished with the active phase of orthodontic treatment, you’ll no longer have that steady pressure, but various forces will still impact the placement of your teeth.
Retainers help keep your teeth in optimal alignment, even if changing forces in your bite or other influences are at play.
When the time comes to end active treatment and begin wearing retainers, Dr. Thompson discusses this stage of your treatment in greater detail. You’ll learn when and how to wear your aligners to preserve your beautiful new smile.
Some types of retainers are fixed devices that are secured to your teeth. There’s nothing for you to do except continue a solid dental hygiene routine to prevent food, plaque, and bacteria from accumulating around the retainer. This involves brushing, flossing or using a waterpik to keep it clean.
Removable retainers may need to be worn around the clock for the first few months after your braces come off or you stop wearing your aligner trays. In some cases, you’ll only need to wear retainers while you sleep.
As long as you follow Dr. Thompson’s instructions, you can expect your retainers to work as intended, preserving your smile and making the most of your orthodontic investment.
If you have a fixed retainer, it’s important to avoid placing undue pressure on the components to prevent breaking or bending. Don’t chew ice or hard foods, and never bite down on non-food items. Carefully brush, floss or use a waterpik on all surfaces of your retainer to keep it clean.
For removable retainers, cleaning is a more straightforward process. Simply remove the retainer and give it a thorough brushing with your toothbrush and soapy water. You can also use a denture-cleaning solution to soak the retainers to keep them clean.
Perhaps most important is the manner in which you store your retainers. Thousands of retainers are accidentally thrown away each year after being removed during meals and wrapped in a napkin or food packaging.
Be sure to use the storage container that comes with your retainers, and develop good habits when it comes to removing them anywhere outside of your bathroom sink. If your retainers crack, break, or bend, call Lovely Smiles Orthodontics to book a repair visit, or schedule using the easy online tool.