When you finish undergoing orthodontic treatment like braces treatment, your orthodontist will recommend you use retainers. That’s why they’re referred to as “retainers” since they avoid the movement you may experience in your teeth when you have dental braces. You will always feel happy when you remove your braces since you will show a beautiful smile and straightened teeth. But, you must wear retainers immediately after removing the braces as directed by your dentist.

Every orthodontic treatment procedure involves three significant steps, including diagnostic, treatment, and retention. Generally, the retainers are classified into two main types: fixed and removable. That’s why you want to work closely with a dental expert to help you choose the proper retainers. If you’re seeking dental services in La Puente, CA, our dental experts and orthodontists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry are ready to provide you with the best dental services.

What are Retainers? 

Retainers are orthodontic appliances designed and molded to fit every patient’s mouth after undergoing the initial remodeling stage in treatment. The primary function of the retainers is to protect the results achieved through orthodontic treatment like braces.

Many people in their late teens or early twenties experience a phenomenon referred to as relapse, which occurs with their teeth. It’s a natural trend for the teeth to move towards their normal position after undergoing orthodontic treatment. Dental retainers are essential in preventing this tendency by holding your teeth at their new locations.

Just like aligners or braces, you will take some time before the dentist recommends you avoid using them. As you wear the retainers, you might feel discomfort, but ensure you wear them per the dentist’s instructions. Note, if you don’t wear them, they will not perform their work; thus, your teeth will shift to their initial positions.

Types of Retainers

Dental retainers occur in two primary forms, removable and fixed retainers. Before you determine the best option for your case, your dentist will examine you. Below is a discussion of the main types of retainers:

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers have a thin wire positioned across your teeth’s interior surface of the upper or lower front teeth, and then the dentist bonds them with glue. The wire stretches across various teeth. Therefore, you require much oral care, especially when flossing your mouth. The fixed retainers have become the most effective type of retainers in keeping your teeth more straightened. The cost for a single arch is between $250 and $500, while the cost for both arches ranges between $500 and $1,000.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers come in various options. For example, Essix and Hawley are examples of removable retainers.  The Hawley retainers are made of acrylic material and wire, while the Essix retainers consist of clear plastic material. Following the orthodontic treatment, both are prepared to fit the patient's mouth.

  • Hawley Retainers

 Hawley retainers are one of the oldest retainers and many recognized orthodontic appliances. The retainers have a wire wrapping around the teeth which keeps the retainers in place. If you want to achieve minor movements in your teeth, the orthodontist will adjust the wires. Hawley retainers are considered more fragile than the other retainers. Therefore, ensure you observe good oral care if you are wearing them. Although several orthodontists don't recommend this type of treatment, it might be helpful in various cases.

Your orthodontist will instruct you to maintain good care for the Hawley retainers. Use soft-bristled toothpaste to brush them at least daily. Also, your dentist may recommend you soak it in denture several times per week to kill the bacteria or any germs growing. A single arch costs around $150 and $300, while both arches cost $300 and $600.

  • Essix Retainers

The Essix retainers are becoming popular for both patients and orthodontists. They have transparent plastic material which feels and looks like the trays used during clear aligner therapy. Also, they are molded in different unique shapes to fit the mouth of the patients. Note, unlike the traditional retainers, Essix retainers are less noticeable.

To ensure you obtain maximum results, ensure you wear the Essix retainers as directed by your orthodontist. Be careful and mindful when handling the retainers to avoid damaging or misplacing them.

The Purpose of Retainers

Your misaligned bite or crooked teeth might be a result of genetics. If you ignore using the retainers after orthodontic treatment, your teeth might relapse after removing your dental braces. Also, teeth may move on their own. After the relapse, the muscle and gum might take much time to adjust. Usually, teeth relapse occurs when a patient ignores using the retainers as directed by the dentist. The teeth shifting may occur even after several years after removing your dental braces. The degree of your teeth shift will be determined by how you regularly wear the retainers.

Remember, after aligning your teeth, the impacts of growth, chewing, and wear may cause them to relapse. Therefore, your dental expert may recommend the use of dental retainers for your entire life. If you have removable retainers, ensure you wear them as per your dentist.  Otherwise, you will risk losing some or all benefits of using braces. The dental experts may recommend you wear the retainers for seven days or a year after removing the braces. Also, the dentists recommend you to wear the retainers throughout the night. The instructions vary from patient to patient, and that’s why you want to consult your dentist.

After you begin using the retainers, your dentist will check to ensure they are working well. If necessary, they will fix, adjust the retainers. Usually, the orthodontist will carry out a check-up between one month and two years. If you notice your retainers are loose, you want to visit your orthodontist soon before it breaks or cracks. The orthodontist will replace them.

How to Wear Retainers

The proper wearing of retainers will ensure you preserve their condition. When your orthodontic recommends you use a retainer-like the Hawley retainers, you want to follow the following steps to ensure you fix it properly.

  • Hold the Retainer Well

First, find out whether the retainers you’re holding are for the top or bottom row of your teeth. Then, ensure you point the strip away from your mouth.

  • Gently Push the Equipment on Your Teeth

Pushing the dental equipment onto your teeth is the second step you want to observe. When you discover the appliance doesn’t fit your teeth, never force it since it might cause gum injuries. Instead, consult your orthodontist. They may adjust the retainer or replace it if necessary.

  • Fix the Appliances onto Your Back Teeth

You may use your hands to push the retainers into their positions. After firmly fixing the retainers, ensure that you avoid biting hard oral equipment since you risk damaging it. After it firmly fits in its place, you will hear a click.

How Long Should I Wear Retainers After Removing Braces?

Your dental expert will recommend you wear the retainers for the rest of your life overnight to protect the teeth from shifting. Anecdotal stories show several patients who stop wearing dental retainers, but their teeth never shift. However, a few patients experience teeth shifting after removing the braces.

You may not detect the teeth shifting quickly unless the dentist performs several orthodontic treatments. Wearing the retainers when you perform strenuous exercise or sleep won’t harm you. Also, it’s the best habit to maintain the retainers. Again, maintaining a proper orthodontic position will lower the potential risks of cavities, digestion, and gum disease.

What Will Happen When You Stop Wearing the Dental Retainers?

When you stop putting on the retainers, they will shift, or you may require a new treatment to fix the teeth. If you retain the retainers for a long time, the less likely you will experience teeth relapsing.

How to Take Care of Retainers?

Your dental care doesn’t just end with the brace or aligners removal. The retainers are critical in stabilizing the new teeth arrangement. The aligners and the braces force your teeth to remain in their normal position. Now that you’re aware of retainers, you want to take good oral care to ensure they remain effective for an extended period. To keep your new look, ensure you use the retainers for the period recommended by your dentist. In most cases, the dentist will recommend you wear the retainers for the rest of your life. The following tips will help you maintain the retainers for a long time:

Remove the Retainers When You’re Eating

After removing your dental braces, the dentist will recommend you take out the retainer as you eat. Don’t leave the retainers on your teeth while eating since plaque and food particles will stick on them. When you are eating, ensure you are close to your retainer case to ensure you place the retainers there as you take your food. Many dentists have witnessed several instances where the patients accidentally throw the retainers.

Remove The Retainers When You Brush Teeth

Remember to take out the retainers while brushing your teeth. Although your teeth may be straight, they won’t look great when you fail to brush them directly. Therefore, you want to remove the retainers while brushing your teeth. Clean them separately and wear them after brushing. If you're going to start wearing retainers, remember oral health is the way to maintain a beautiful smile. Don’t hesitate to visit our dentists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry.

Clean the Retainers and Store Them

Cleaning the retainers is a no-brainer. However, you would be surprised to learn how often many patients forget. You may brush the retainers with a toothpaste and toothbrush regularly to remove the tartar or plaque on the brush. When the dentist requires you wear the retainers on sometimes, you may use a denture cleaner and baking soda, mix it with water and leave it to soak. When you’re storing it, ensure you keep it in a container with airflow to ensure no bacteria or mold grows. Ensure you avoid harsh chemicals like alcohol-based mouthwash and bleach agents. Lastly, don’t boil the retainer since it might melt the plastic and then wrap the metal.

Carefully Wear and Remove Your Retainers

Ensure you don’t leave a gap between your teeth and the support. If you want to remove them, don’t twist them with your tongue or even pull them on one side. When you do so, you may damage the retainer. Instead, start by loosening the retainer in various places while removing it. After removing, remember to place it on the storage case.

Replace the Retainers When Necessary

Note, a well-made retainer will at one point wear out. Therefore, you should visit your dentist if you notice your retainer is behaving differently or deteriorating. You want to replace it asap.

Benefits of Using Retainers

Retainers are used in the last stages of orthodontic treatment to keep your teeth in place. After the removal of braces, your teeth could quickly shift back to their improper position. Using retainers in your teeth after removing braces has many benefits apart from keeping your teeth in place. Below are the advantages of using retainers in your teeth.

  • Promotes Proper Oral Hygiene

Straight teeth are easy to clean, prevent plaque build-up, therefore, preventing the chances of having cavities. Straight teeth help chew your food effectively. By chewing better, you obtain more nutrients from the food you eat. An advantage of chewing better is increased saliva production. More saliva production enhances more digestive enzymes to reduce the building-up of plague and decrease chances of developing cavities.

  • Maintain a Beautiful Smile

Retainers keep the structure of your teeth for the rest of your life. Straight teeth increase your confidence and self-esteem. A straighter smile will make you more attractive, confident, and trustworthy. Therefore retainers keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

  • Assist With Breathing

Misaligned teeth cause speech issues. Retainers keep your teeth properly attained and adjust the placement of your tongue for proper speech. Through adjustment of the tongue, children quickly form sounds as they develop speech. The proper speech will build your confidence. Again, it reduces the trouble of snoring or breathing loudly àt night time.

  • Keep Your Teeth Straight

When braces are removed from your teeth, teeth may relapse to their original position. Retainers prevent your teeth from relapsing by keeping them straight. After removing braces, your teeth are correctly aligned. When retainers are used regularly, they help keep your teeth well aligned. Retainers are customized mouthpieces that help in stabilizing your teeth' position. You have to note that retainers stabilize your teeth while a new bone tissue develops around them solidifying their new roles. Again retainers, protect your investment in braces by ensuring your teeth are straight and strong.

  • Retainers Serve as Medication For Bruxism or TMJ

Many patients receiving dental treatment may develop problems like Bruxism. Bruxism is the grinding of teeth at night time. Retainers are helpful for Bruxism since they act as a buffer between teeth that grind together. Retainers assist in keeping your teeth strong while preventing tooth wear, tear, and fractures.

Temporomandibular joint concerns muscles which help close and open your mouth. When your mouth fails to open and close appropriately, you develop jaw pain, difficulty in swallowing and chewing. Your teeth won't line up correctly, resulting in Bruxism. For Bruxism, retainers will help in keeping your jaw aligned, avoiding pain. Again, they assist in preventing your mouth from closing at night time, keeping you from grinding your teeth.

Potential Risks Associated With Retainer

Wearing retainers is the best way of maintaining your teeth solid and straight. However, potential risks are resulting from the use of retainers. The risk may occur directly or indirectly. The given below are the potential risks associated with using retainers after removing braces in your teeth.

Discomfort Feeling

You may feel uncomfortable since retainers may rub gingival after the first fitting. However, you should continue wearing them to minimize the risk of tooth movement. You want to keep in touch with your orthodontic expert to have your retainers eased. The operator will have a chance to see your problem, carry out trimmings, and ease the best results.

Breakages Of Retainers

Sometimes your retainers may break. After breaking, they cannot maintain your teeth' alignment appropriately. Breakages may occur through wear and tear, carelessness, or lack of motivation. If you notice retainer breakages, you want to return to the clinic. The medical expert will help repair or remake the retainer.

Find a Dentist Near Me

After your orthodontist recommends, you wear retainers, ensure you follow the orthodontist’s instructions on the retainers. Also, ensure you go for the best type of retainers since you will spend several months, if not years, wearing them. Before choosing the best kind of retainers for your treatment, you want to consult your dental expert.

Our orthodontists and dental experts at La Puente Advanced Dentistry provide a wide range of dental services, including retainers. If you seek orthodontic services in La Puente, CA, call us today at 626-626-7075 and speak with one of our dental experts.