Orthodontic RetainersGainesville, VA
Orthodontic retainers are usually the next step once patients complete active orthodontic treatment. This appliance ensures that teeth do not move out of alignment after being straightened. Wearing retainers according to our instructions is crucial to maintaining your healthy, beautiful smile.
Our team at Gainesville Orthodontics provides orthodontic retainers in Gainesville and the surrounding area. We will create custom-made retainers to protect your smile investment. Call us today at 571-367-3390 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Understanding Orthodontic Retainers
After patients no longer need to wear their braces or aligners, they will typically get a retainer. Orthodontic retainers are plastic or metal appliances that we custom make for each patient’s teeth. We use retainers to help ensure the teeth do not shift back out of alignment after treatment.
Once the teeth have moved into alignment after active orthodontic treatment, retainers allow the bone that holds the teeth to rebuild. These appliances also help patients maintain the new, straighter positions of their teeth. In other cases, retainers can help shift teeth and close gaps when braces are not necessary.
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Types of Retainers
There are two main types of orthodontic retainers, removable and fixed. People with removable orthodontic retainers can take out and put in their retainers freely. There are various types of removable retainers to choose from, including Hawley retainers and clear retainers.
Fixed orthodontic retainers are thin wires that are custom-fit and bonded to the lingual or backside of teeth. Patients cannot remove this appliance since we bond it to teeth with a composite material and curing light. Our team can help determine which type of retainer is the best for each patient’s needs and preferences.
What Happens When Retainers Are Not Worn
Not wearing retainers will erase the time and money a patient has invested in their beautiful smile. While forgetting to wear a retainer for a day or two will not have any serious consequences, not wearing it for longer can. Without a retainer to hold teeth in place until they stabilize, teeth can relapse into their previous position.
Wearing an orthodontic retainer allows the bone to strengthen and fully mineralize to keep teeth in their straight and aligned position. Patients who have not worn their retainer for some time may experience teeth that have shifted. This movement can make wearing the retainer uncomfortable or even painful. If this happens, be sure to contact our team quickly so we can refit it.
How Long to Wear Retainers
It can take some time for a person’s newly aligned teeth to stay in place. The length of time needed to wear retainers will vary from patient to patient. However, there is no maximum length of time that people can wear their retainers. At a minimum, patients should follow our team’s recommendations.
Some patients may need to wear their retainers all day for the first few months, while others who have more severe misalignment may need to wear their retainers for a year or more until their teeth are stable. The American Association of Orthodontics suggests that patients wear their retainers at night for life to help keep their teeth straight.
Cleaning Orthodontic Retainers
Cleaning retainers is a necessary part of maintaining a functional appliance and good oral hygiene. People with fixed retainers wearers cannot remove their devices and need to floss their retainers with a floss threader. They must also be sure to angle their toothbrush vertically and horizontally while flossing to remove any plaque or debris around the retainer.
People with removable orthodontic retainers must rinse their devices with lukewarm water after every removal to prevent debris from hardening on the retainer. It is also necessary to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean the entire retainer at least once each day. In some cases, we may also recommend a special soaking solution to clean retainers between uses.
Call Us Today
Orthodontic retainers can help you preserve your investment in orthodontic treatment. Our team at Gainesville Orthodontics can help. Call us today at 571-367-3390 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I do not wear a retainer?
Not wearing retainers according to our instructions will lead to teeth shifting back into their original position. This movement is called relapsing. Without a retainer, patients may need to undergo orthodontic intervention again in the future.
Why are straight teeth important?
Straight teeth have many benefits. While they look better, straight teeth are also easier to clean. This reduces the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. It also reduces the risk of chipping, wearing down, or breaking your teeth since straight teeth fit together better.
What should I do if I get food stuck in my retainer?
People should always take their retainer before eating or snacking. However, if food or debris becomes trapped in the retainer, we recommend using a clean cotton swab dipped in water to clean it. Never clean a retainer with hot water.
How long will my retainer last?
Retainers can last for many years. Like any orthodontic appliance, retainers will eventually require replacing. However, with proper care and precautions, patients can extend the lifespan of their retainers.
Who is a good candidate for a fixed retainer?
Fixed retainers are a good option for people who have difficulty adhering to guidelines for removable retainers. Since these retainers bond to the backs of teeth, they help keep teeth in place without disrupting a patient’s smile. It is important to note that fixed retainers can make maintaining oral hygiene more difficult as it can result in more plaque and tartar accumulation.
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