Most comprehensive orthodontic treatments will involve the use of braces or aligners. In either case, your treatment involves minor movement of your teeth to correct misalignment. This ensures both a straight smile and an even bite.
However, braces are not the only stage needed for a permanent orthodontic solution. Once your braces have been taken off, the retention phase begins. It is vitally important to follow through with retention to maintain your newly straight smile after treatment. Your final orthodontic results depend on your retainer, so be sure to keep your appointments with Dr. Jacobs even after your braces have been removed.
There are a few distinct types of retainers that may be recommended to you:
- Clear Retainers – A removable, transparent plastic tray that fits over your teeth.
- Traditional Retainers – A removable appliance made of acrylic and a wire that sits on the front side of your teeth.
- Bonded Retainer – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily bonded to the lingual (tongue) side of the anterior teeth.
Dr. Jacobs will provide you with the retainer option that is best suited for your orthodontic treatment plan. Your retainer should be worn as often as instructed. Your teeth have been in active treatment for months or even years. Wearing your retainer is crucial for ensuring that your teeth do not shift back out of their corrected positions.
When it is not in your mouth, keep your retainer in its case. Bacteria can build up on your retainer, making it less hygienic and affecting the fit. Regular cleaning to remove these bacteria is a vital part of proper retainer care.
To clean your retainer, brush it gently with a wet toothbrush. Disinfect your retainer by soaking it in a cleansing solution. Thoroughly rinse the appliance with cold or room-temperature water before placing it back in your mouth. Hot water can cause the retainer to lose its proper shape, so should be avoided.