You’ve got your braces off, now how do you keep your new smile in top condition?
Many people don’t know that your teeth move around throughout your life and that lower, anterior crowding is a common side-effect of aging. That is why this next step in orthodontic treatment is so important. Retainers help maintain your confident smile and protect your investment.
Retainers are appliances that are customized for you to either maintain all the hard work of braces or to fix minor issues with your teeth. There are different types of retainers, fixed and removable.
Fixed retainers are custom made and placed and removed by your orthodontist in Raleigh. These are bonded to the tongue side of your teeth. They require a bit more conscious oral hygiene than removable retainers because you will have to use floss threaders to clean in between the teeth that the retainer is covering.
Removable retainers can be taken in and out. The common Hawley retainer has a plastic-like material that covers the roof of your mouth or behind your lower teeth and metal wires that hold the retainer in place around certain teeth. There are also Essix retainers that are made from a mold of your teeth. These are made out of an almost invisible plastic-like material and fit over the entire arch. They are very similar to Invisalign appliances.
Your orthodontist in Raleigh will work with you to determine the best retainer for your smile. Depending on how your teeth respond to treatment gives your orthodontist the best information for the type of retention device that will be most appropriate. This can be an upper, a lower, or a combination of both.
One patient may have a fixed lower retainer and a removable upper retainer that they have to wear 24 hours a day. Another may only need to wear Essix retainers at night. There are also times when you will need a specific retainer to adjust a specific issue (such as small gaps) after the braces have been removed and then use an alternate retainer to maintain the positioning of the teeth.
Your orthodontist will discuss all possible options with you and give you their recommendation for the most effective retention method for you and your lifestyle. They will also give you a “prescription” for wearing the retainers that tell you how long to wear them each day, as well as how long you’ll need to continually wear them.
If your retainer is damaged, call the office for an appointment and bring the damaged retainer with you. There is a chance that it can be repaired. If you’ve lost your retainer, you will need an appointment for new molds of your teeth and for a new retainer to be made.
Whether you need a retainer to help maintain that confident smile after braces or to fix a small orthodontic issue, Walton & Maready Orthodontics can fit you with the appropriate retainer for you and your lifestyle. Call today for an appointment.