A dental retainer is worn after braces are removed. This generally happens at the end of an orthodontic procedure that aims to improve your bite and the alignment of your teeth. Retainers are worn to keep the teeth in their new place and to prevent them from going back to their earlier position. Thus, it’s very important to wear your retainers as directed by the orthodontist to ensure that you have perfect teeth for your lifetime.
Purpose of a Retainer
A retainer is an appliance used by an orthodontist and is worn after the orthodontist removes the braces from your mouth. The removal of braces allows the teeth to move. Since the teeth have a tendency to go back to their original positions, it negates the success that’s achieved by the orthodontic treatment. The use of retainers prevents this and enables you to have a perfect bite and perfectly aligned teeth for the rest of your life.
Retainers are generally removable. Upper retainers fit in the roof of your mouth. They’re removable and are made of acrylic and wire. Lower retainers can be removable or fixed to the lower teeth, in which case they can’t be removed. In the initial months after the removal of braces, retainers should be worn all the time. After the initial months, the orthodontist can determine whether they can be removed for a few hours daily. In order to avoid having to undergo the treatment again, it’s best to follow the orthodontist’s instructions.
Oral Hygiene and Retainers
It’s important to take care of your retainers and maintain oral hygiene, as the retainers are inside your mouth for the better part of the day. You should brush your retainers each time you brush your teeth. It’s best to use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to brush them. Rinse well before putting them back in your mouth.
You should take care and never use hot water to wash and rinse the retainers, as hot water can distort the plastic or acrylic. If this happens, the retainers will not fit inside your mouth and this will render them useless. Retainers should be soaked in a cleaning solution as food particles and plaque can collect on them. Soaking prevents the accumulation of plaque and bacteria and makes the retainer better tasting as well. However, you should first check with your orthodontist as to which cleaning solution should be used as some solutions can damage the retainers and cause the wires and metallic parts to corrode. Also, make sure your retainers don’t fall and break while you are cleaning them.
If you don’t have to wear the retainers full time, you should store them in a mixture of water and mouth rinse. If you have a fixed lower retainer made of wire, it’s important to floss the teeth that are attached to the retainer to remove any food particles that adhere to the teeth and the retainer. This should be done in addition to brushing your teeth. When you aren’t using your retainers, ensure that they’re stored in the retainer container provided by your orthodontist so that they remain clean. Also keep them out of the reach of pets and children.
Retainers can help you keep your teeth perfectly aligned, and you should take proper care of them to ensure that you get the best results from the treatment.