Life is short so you shouldn’t hesitate to do the things that put a smile on your face. However, some dental issues, like crooked or crowded teeth can take a toll on one’s confidence. The good news is that you can fix this issue with orthodontic retainers.
You have probably heard of retainers but may not be fully aware of what they are used for or what to do once you have them. Well, retainers are a type of dental appliance that is used to keep teeth in place after the orthodontic treatment. But this bit of information does not inform people of the many benefits and uses of retainers, so in this blog post, we will discuss the seven things you need to know about retainers.
Retainers are commonly used to correct tooth shape following braces or orthodontic treatment, yet there are many misconceptions when it comes to retainers. Some people think they are uncomfortable, difficult to wear, or unattractive. The truth is, retainers are super comfortable and can be extremely helpful in keeping your teeth clean and healthy, and in shape. The only requirement is that you need to know how to use them correctly!
You will need to wear them as per instructed by your orthodontist. For most patients, it is recommended to wear your retainers for around 20 hours a day for the first two months. However, after this intensive use period, your teeth will become more stable and you can wear them while sleeping (or as instructed by your dentist).
As a recommendation, you should only remove your retainer to eat, brush your teeth, and floss. It is important to put your retainer back in place after eating or brushing so that your teeth do not shift back out of place. Most people only need to wear their retainers for a few years, but you may need to wear them to bed for the rest of your life. It all depends on how well your teeth stay in place after treatment.
You will need to clean your retainer regularly to prevent bacteria from building up. However, many people feel confused about how to effectively clean them. To maintain a clean orthodontic retainer, you don’t have to do much at all. You can simply brush your retainer with toothpaste and lukewarm water; it is good to clean the retainers with a separate toothbrush. You can use mouthwash but make sure it is alcohol-free so it won’t damage the apparatus. Another thing that you need to do is to soak them for 20 minutes in a denture cleaning solution. It is important to avoid using hot water when cleaning your retainer, as this can cause the material to warp.
Retainers are custom-made dental appliances worn after braces to hold teeth in their newly aligned position. They come in two types: fixed and removable.
The removable retainers are made of wire and plastic that fit snugly over your teeth and are of two types, i.e. Hawley and Essix. Hawley retainers are made up of acrylic and metals and are comfortable as they don’t come in contact with your natural tooth, while Essix is made of plastic and are clear retainers and mostly uncomfortable as they come into contact with a natural tooth. One of the biggest advantages of this type of retainer is that they are comparatively easy to clean and avoids bruxism (the teeth grinding). Yet the major drawback of removable retainers is that they can be lost or damaged quite easily if you forget to place them safely in their case.
On the other hand, the fixed retainers are bonded to the backs of your teeth. In this case, a wire is connected at the back of your anterior teeth to avoid displacement of your teeth. Fixed retainers don’t have any problem with loss and damage, yet it causes major issues in cleaning and oral hygiene. In some cases, you still have to wear removable retainers because they only hold certain teeth to a specific degree. Moreover, another huge problem with this type of retainer is plaque and tartar can easily build-up, and you have to regularly floss or get them cleaned professionally.
Although retainers are very strong, they can break if not handled carefully. If your retainer is broken or damaged, the first thing you should do is call your orthodontist. They will give you instructions on how to proceed. In some cases, they may be able to repair your retainer. If not, they will be able to make a new one for you. If you don’t get your appointment at your earliest, you can buy customizable, moddable nightguards online to avoid the teeth going back to their older shape.
How long should you use a retainer? Well, the short answer is that you will probably have to wear your retainer for several months or even years. The length of time will depend on how long you had braces and how well you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Most orthodontics recommend wearing it for four months daily, while in some cases, it is instructed to wear it for a whole year.
You can do a few things to make sure your retainer is as comfortable as possible. The first is to avoid eating harder or sticky foods that could further damage your retainer. You have to clean your retainer often with soap and water to prevent bacteria from building up. Moreover, be careful when handling your retainer to avoid breaking it. It is also recommended to go to your dentist for a checkup frequently.
With a little care, your retainer will last for many years! Make sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions and take good care of your retainers with the tips above. This way you can definitely keep your smile looking great long after your treatment. All that’s required is a little effort.